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From a painting on the tomb of Henry IV., in Canterbury Cathedral. Restored by G. Austin. 






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The right of Translation is reserved. 







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ROME, October 22, 1859. 



THIS volume has grown out of two articles which appeared 
in the ' English Beview ' thirteen years ago ; and, not- 
withstanding the changes as to form and size which those 
papers have now undergone, I have thought it well to retain 
some marks of their original character, as contributions to a 
literary journal. 

Let me venture here to express an earnest hope that the 
whole body of documents relating to the history of Becket 
may speedily find a place in the series of ' Chronicles and 
Memorials ' which is now in progress under the superintend- 
ence of the Master of the Rolls. Of the necessity of a 
competent editor's care for the arrangement and illustration 
of the correspondence, I have spoken elsewhere ; a and, next 
to this, the most considerable part of such an editor's task 
would probably be the analysis and comparison of the 
various biographies, with a view of ascertaining their 
correspondences and divergences, and the sources from 
which each writer derived his materials. Perhaps the 
result of such an inquiry might be found to throw some 
light on questions connected with a Historia Quadripartita far 
more important than that which is devoted to the Life of 
Thomas of Canterbury. 

Pp. 168-172. 


My best thanks are due to the Kev. W. W. Shirley, of 
Wadham College, Oxford; to Mr. Fergusson, of Langham 
Place (author of the excellent 'Handbook of Architecture,' 
&c.) ; and to Mr. George Austin, of Canterbury, for the kind 
and valuable assistance which I have received from them. 

J. C. K. 

Precincts, Canterbury, 

September, 1859. 

P.S. A new edition of the metrical Life by Gamier has 
just been published at Paris by M. Hippeau, of Caen too 
late for me to make use of the text ; but I may refer to 
M. Hippeau's Introduction (although it contains some things 
in which I cannot agree) for a forcible argument against 
the -theory which represents Becket as a champion of the 
Saxon race. 

November 2, 1859. 



Views of Becket's history and cha- 
racter .. 




Materials for his story 

Pa g e 

EARLY LIFE, A.D. 1118-1154. 

Legend of Gilbert and Matilda . . 10 

Was Gilbert a Saxon? 13 

Birth and early years of Thomas 

Becket 15 

Introduction to Archbishop Theobald 20 

Employments and preferments . . 22 

Accession of Henry II 24 

Becket chancellor 26 



The office of chancellor 
Becket as chancellor 
His splendour .. 

Embassy to France . . 
War of Toulouse 




Death of Theobald 

Becket nominated as archbishop 

His election 

Gilbert Foliot 1 

Release from secular obligations 

Consecration 46 

The pall 47 

Change of life 48 

Manner of life as archbishop . . . . 52 



Becket 's policy as chancellor . . . . 60 

Resignation of the chancellorship . . 62 

Affair of the archdeaconry . . . . 64 

Resumption of lands 65 

Meeting with Henry at Southampton 67 

Council of Tours 68 

Claims as to Rochester and Tunbridge 71 

Patronage of Eynesford 72 

Taillage 73 

Question of clerical immunities . . 74 





Council of Westminster 
Interview at Northampton 
Opposition of bishops to Becket 
He agrees to accept the " Customs 
Council of Clarendon 
The Constitutions . 



Becket accepts them 101 

Negotiations with the Pope . . . . 104 
Becket attempts to leave the kingdom 106 

Interview with Henry 107 

The archbishop's administration . . ib. 



Assembly at Northampton .. .. 109 
Case of John the Marshal .. ..110 
Becket condemned for treason .. .. 112 
Other charges 114 

His accounts as chancellor demanded 114 

Last day of the council 118 

Withdrawal of the archbishop . . . . 127 

His flight 132 



Becket escapes from England . . . . 1 33 

St. Bertin's 138 

Interview of Henry's envoys with 

Louis VII 139 

Becket's envoys with the French king 

and the Pope 142 

Henry's ambassadors with the Pope 143 

Character of Alexander III 146 

Becket with the Pope 150 

Interview of Becket's envoys with 

the King's mother 154 

Henry's measures against the Arch- 
bishop's friends 157 


PONTIGNY, DEC. 1164 EASTER, 1166. 

Foundation of the Cistercian order . . 161 

Pontigny 162 

Becket's life there 163 

His studies 166 

The Correspondence 168 

John of Salisbury 173 

German embassy to England .. .. 175 

Diet of Wiirzburg 176 

Return of the Pope to Italy .. ..177 
Interview between Henry and Becket's 

clerks 178 

Negotiations through Urban and 

Gerard 179 


VEZELAY, A.D. 1166. 

Becket legate for England .. .. 181 

Conference at Chinon 182 

Becket goes to Soissons and V T ezelay 184 
Excommunication of the king's friends 186 

The Archbishop dislodged from Pon- 
tigny 189 

Removal to Sens 196 




COMMISSIONS, A.D. 1167-9, 


John of Oxford at Rome 200 

First commission from the Pope 

William and Otho 202 

Conferences at Gisors and Argentan 205 
Excommunications and negotiations 209 
Second commission Simon, Engel- 

bert, and Bernard 211 

Conference at Montmirail 

Excommunication of Foliot 

Third commission Gratian and 


Conference at Montmartre 
Fresh excommunications 
Abjuration of the Pope in England . . 





Fourth commission Archbishop of 

Rouen and Bishop of Nevers . . 231 
Letter of Becket against Henry . . 232 

Absolution of Foliot 235 

Becket on the Roman court . . . . 236 

Coronation of Henry's son . . . . 237 
Reconciliation at Freteval . . . . 242 
Further conferences and negotiations 245 
Becket prepares to return to England 249 



Becket's landing in England . . . . 253 

Reception at Canterbury 255 

Attempt to visit the younger king . . 258 
Interview with the abbot of St. 

Alban's ,. 260 

Christmas-day at Canterbury . . . . 263 
Interview between English bishops 

and the king 265 

Murder of the Archbishop . . . . 266 



Horror excited by the murder . . . . 287 

Miracles and visions 291 

Dismay of Henry's friends .. ..293 
Letters of his enemies to the Pope . . 294 
Embassy from the king to the Pope 297 
Henry reconciled at Avranches . . 302 

Increase of miracles 304 

Canonization of Becket 305 

Pilgrimage of Henry to the shrine . . 306 

Henry's control over the Church . . 307 

The clerical immunities lessened . . 310 



Character and merits of Becket .311 



I. The office of chancellor 321 

II. Sale of the chancellorship 322 

III. Theobald and Becket 323 

IV. Foliot and the bishopric of London 324 

V. Foliot's judgment of his superiors ib. 

VI. Foliot's letter to Becket, No. cxciv 325 

VII. Case of Battle Abbey 326 

VIII. Family of Ridel 327 

IX. Danegeld 328 

X. Justinian and Gratian on trial of clergymen 329 

XI. Separation of courts by William the Conqueror 330 

XII. Arnulf of Lisieux .. .. 331 

XIII. Clarembald and St. Augustine's 332 

XIV. Philip of L'Aumone 334 

XV. Becket 's crossbearer 335 

XVI. Filius Excussorum 336 

XVII. The release from secular obligations 337 

XVIII. Order of Sempringham 338 

XIX. Memorable Tuesdays in Becket's life ' 339 

XX. Whiteness of Becket's hands 340 

XXI. The resignation of the archbishopric 341 

XXII. The Pope's treatment of Becket 343 

XXIII. John, Bishop of Poitiers 344 

XXIV. Vezelay 345 

XXV. Date of the excommunications at Vezelay 347 

XXVI. Becket's vestments at Sens 348 

XXVII. Becket and the Abbot of St. Alban's 349 

XXVIII. Hugh Mauclerc ib. 

XXIX. Place of Becket's death 351 

XXX. Becket's relations 353 

INDEX . .. 356 


THE MURDER or BECKET. (From a painting on the tomb of Henry IV. in 
Canterbury Cathedral. Restored by George Austin.) Frontispiece. 

THE ABBEY CHURCH OF PONTIGNY, with Becket's Chapel in ruins. (From 
Chaillou des Barres' History of the Abbey.) Page 163 

CHASUBLE PRESERVED AT SENS. (From De Caumont's ' Abece'daire 
d'Archeologie.') 199 

graph by G. Austin.) 269 

Murder. (From a photograph by G. Austin.) 279 


\_It is believed that such other titles as require any explanation have been explained 
in the notesJ\ 

Buss, Der heil. Thoraas, und sein Kampf fiir die Freiheit der Kirche, Mainz, 1 856. 

Carte, Hist, of England, vol. i., Lond. 1747. 

Florentius Vigorniensis, ed. Thorpe (Eng. Hist. Soc.). 

Foss, The Judges of England, vol. i., Lond. 1848. 

Godwin, De Praesulibus Angliae, ed. Richardson, Camb. 1743. 

Inett, Origines Anglicanse, Lond. 1710. [The late Oxford edition, by the Rev. J. 
Griffiths, is quoted for the notes only.] 

Jaffe', Regesta Pontificum Romanorum, Berol. 1851. 

Johannes Sarisburiensis. [Unless where the edition by Dr. Giles is named, the refer- 
ences are to the reprint in Migne's Patrologia.] 

Johnson's English Canons, ed. Baron, in Anglo-Cath. Library. 

Lyttelton's Life of Henry II., 2nd edition, 4to. 

Martineau, Church Hist, in England, Lond. 1853. 

Milman's Latin Christianity, 1st edition. 

Monasticon Anglicanum, Lond. 1845. 

Morris, " Canon of Northampton ;" Life of St. Thomas Becket, Lond. 1859. 

Patrologia, ed. Migne, Paris, 1844-54. 

Pauli, Gesch. v. England, iii., Hamb. 1853. 

Phillipps, Englische Reichs- und Rechtsgeschichte, Berl. 1827-8. 

Recueil des Historiens de la France. [Vol. xvi. is usually cited by the name of its 
editor, Brial ; other volumes by the name of the original editor, Bouquet.] 

Sanctus Thomas Cantuariensis, ed. Giles: see p. 4. [This is sometimes cited as 
" S. T. C. ;" but citations without any title are also to be understood as referring 
to it.] 

Stanley, Memorials of Canterbury, 3rd edition. 

Turner, Hist, of England during the Middle Ages, 2nd edition, Lond. 1825. 

Wendover, R., ed. Coxe. [Eng. Hist. Soc.] 




" Si quis hujusmodi causam et initium discordise, medium et finem, 
nosse desiderat, ilia magna scrutetur volumiua quse de eodem scripta 
sunt : Vitam scilicet, quam socius passionum ejus preeter martyrium 
Magister scripsit HEREBERTDS, et aliam quam cum miraculis multis 
scripsit WILLIELMUS Cantuariensis monachus. Legat et volumen Epis- 
tolarum ejus, quas Prior compilavit ALANUS. Legat et Miracula quae 
vidit et conscripsit BENEDICTUS, cum Vita ipsius quam breviter dictavit 
JOHANNES Carnotensis Episcopus. Modicum etiam, si placet, visitet 
GERVASIUM, qui archiepiscopatus ipsius breviter gesta transcurrit et 
annos." Gervas. Dorobern., Actus Pontificum Cantuar., ap. Twysden, 
col. 1670. 

THE three centuries and a half during which Thomas of 
Canterbury was revered as the most glorious of English 
saints were followed by an almost equally long period 
of disrepute. Among Protestants of every kind his 
name was a byword, while, although he found defenders 
in the Koman Church, their apologies were, for the most 
part, written with an air of constraint, and appeared to 
betray a feeling that a hero so remote from modern 
sympathies was rather an incumbrance than a strength 
to their cause. In our own time, however, a fresh turn 
in the course of opinion has produced something of a 
reaction in his favour. 



The reaction began in France, where, in the hands of 
M. Augustin Thierry, it took the form of historical 
theory. According to this eminent writer, the contest 
between Becket and Henry II. was, in essence and in 
spirit, a struggle, not of the ecclesiastical with the secu- 
lar power, but of the Saxon with the Norman race.* 
The Archbishop is to be regarded as the representative 
of the Saxons, as asserting the cause of the people 
against the oppressive descendants of the conquerors, 
and therefore upheld by their sympathy in his troubles, 
and consecrated by their veneration after death. The 
Saxons are M. Thierry's universal solvent; everywhere 
he finds or he imagines the influence of race manifesting 
itself. The novelty and boldness of this theory, and the 
great literary skill with which it is enforced, have ob- 
tained for it much attention and some acceptance ; but 
we believe it to be utterly untenable, except with such 
qualifications as deprive it of all that is peculiar or con- 
siderable. b 

a ' Hist, de la Conquete de 1'An- 
gleterre par les Normands,' t. i. 
pp. xviii.-xx. ; t. iii. 158. Ed. Brux- 
elles, 1835. 

b John of Salisbury would al- 
most seem to have disposed of M. 
Thierry's fancy by anticipation : 
" Qui ergo persequuntur in hac 
causa Cantuariensein Archiepisco- 
pum, non hoc persequuntur quod 
Thomas est, quod natione Lon- 
doniensis, &c., .... sed quod an- 
nunciat populo Dei scelera eorum." 
(Ep. 193.) Dr. Lappenberg, in his 
4 History of England,' has tempe- 
rately but conclusively exposed 

many of the passages in which 
the theory is inculcated ; and 
see Wilmans, in Schmidt's 'Zeit- 
schr. fur Geschichtswissenschaft,' 
i. 182-5 (Berlin, 1844), and Keu- 
ter's 'Alexander III.,' i. 347 
(ib. 1845), for a general refuta- 
tion of it, in sot far as it re- 
lates to the history of Becket. 
There is, indeed, reason to believe 
that M. Thierry himself had in his 
last years greatly modified his opi- 
nion as to this part of his subject, 
and that he intended to state his 
change of views in a new edition 
of his ' Conquete d'Angleterre,' on 



In England, on the other hand, the reaction originated 
in a religious interest. At a time when the course of 
politics and of popular religion had excited the appre- 
hensions of many churchmen, the late Mr. Froude 
felt himself attracted towards the character of Becket 
as a champion of the Church against the secular power. 
He argued that the facts relating to the Archbishop had 
in many respects been misrepresented, and, further, that 
he had been judged on wrong principles by lax and 
unsound writers.* In some points Mr. Froude must be 
considered as having established his case ; in others it is 
evident that he writes as a mere apologist, anxious rather 
to make out that his hero's conduct may have been right 
than to ascertain whether it really was so. The style 
of argument which began with Mr. Froude has been 
followed in the English Church by Archdeacon Churton, b 
by Dr. Giles, and in some degree by Mr. Warter ; d and 
on this as on other subjects the cautious tone which had 

which he was engaged almost to 
the time of his death ; but I am not 
aware that this work has yet ap- 

a Kemains of the Rev. E. H. 
Froude,' vol. iv. Derby, 1839. The 
contents of this volume had partly 
appeared in the ' British Maga- 
zine,' vols. ii.-v. (1833-4) ; but a 
considerable portion of it is due to 
the editor of the ' Kemains,' al- 
though in referring to it I have 
for the most part not attempted to 
distinguish between the two wri- 
ters. It may be well to mention, 
for the information of some readers, 

that Mr. Froude was an elder bro- 
ther of the historian of Henry 
VIII., a Fellow of Oriel, and one 
of the projectors of the ' Tracts 
for the Times.' He died in 1836, 
aged thirty-three. 

b ' The Early English Church.' 
London, 1840. 

c The Life and Letters of 
Thomas a Becket, now first ga- 
thered from the Contemporary 
Historians,' 2 vols. London, 1846. 

d ' Appendicia et Pertinentise, 
or Parochial Fragments.' London, 

B 2 



long prevailed among writers of the Koman communion 
has lately been exchanged for something very like 
audacity. Thus, the variety of opinions to be dealt with 
by an inquirer who may wish to understand the con- 
troverted question of Becket's merits has of late been 
considerably increased. 

A large addition has also been made to our printed 
materials for the history. Of these the chief repository 
was formerly a corpulent little quarto, edited by Christian 
Wolf (or Lupus), a Friar Eremite of St. Augustine, and 
published at Brussels in 1682. a The volume contains a 
collection of letters, with a Life which is mostly compiled 
from four contemporary writers, b and is thence known 
by the title of Quadrilogus, or Historia Quadripartite.* 
But of late years the mass of printed authorities has 
been swelled by various publications, especially by Dr. 
Giles's Sanctus Thomas Cantuariensis* The value of 
the additions contained in this work is, indeed, but in- 
differently proportioned to their bulk : for the new letters 

' Epistolse et VitaDivi Thomse 
Martyris, &c., in lucem productse 
ex MS. Vaticano, opera et studio 
F. Christ. Lupi, Iprensis.' 

b John of Salisbury, Herbert of 
Bosham, Alan of Tewkesbury, and 
William of Canterbury. To these, 
in the History of the ' Passion,' is 
added a fifth, Benedict of Peter- 

c There are two such compila- 
tions, which are both referred to 
the thirteenth century. That 
which was edited by Lupus, and 
which took its final shape in the 

pontificate of Gregory XI. (A.D. 
1371-8), is styled the Second. The 
First was printed at Paris in 1495. 
See Giles, S. Thorn. Cant.,' vol. ii. 
Pref. p. xi. 

d In eight volumes octavo, Ox- 
ford, 1845-6. Vols. i.-ii. contain 
Lives ; vols. iii. and iv. Letters of 
Becket and others ; vols. v. and 
vi. Letters of Foliot and others ; 
vols. vii. and viii. the works of 
Herbert of Bosham. The contents 
of these volumes are reprinted by 
the Abbe Migne, in vols. cxc., &c., 
of his ' Patrologia.' 



of Foliot (printed from a manuscript in the Bodleian 
Library) are for the most part of no great interest ; the 
portions of Herbert of Bosham's Life which were not 
already known through the Quadrilogus consist mainly 
of tedious moralising and rhetorical flourishes ; his Liber 
Melorum is (as Dr. Giles appears painfully to feel) 
hardly readable even by an editor, and is utterly un- 
readable by any one else ; while much of the other new 
matter is merely a repetition of the old, and in some 
cases Dr. Giles has printed, as new, pieces which had 
long been before the world. a Yet, however lightly we 
may estimate the greater part of the new materials, we 
are bound to be thankful to the editor who has furnished 
us with the means of judging of them ; and there is in 
Dr. Giles's book matter which is both fresh and important. 
The Life by Edward Grim, which Surius had abridged in 
his Acta Sanctorum , b is now printed at full length : one 
by Koger, a monk who served the Archbishop while 
resident at Pontigny, one by an unknown author, who 
professes to have witnessed his murder/ and others of 
smaller importance, are said to be entirely new. 

The original authorities, then, may be classified as 
follows : 

* E. g., the passages of K. de 
Diceto which are given as an ap- 
pendix to Alan (S. T. C., i. 375, 
seqq.). The oversight as to the 
Sarum Breviary, which will be 
noticed hereafter (p. 51), is almost 
of the same kind. 

b Dec. 29, t. vi. 330, ed. Venet., 
1571. It had been also partly 

given in Martene's 'Thesaurus 
Anecdotorum.'" See Giles, S. T. C., 
ii., Pref. p. x. 

c S. T. C. i. 92 ; cf. ii. 52. 

d S. Thorn. Cant. ii. 72. This 
biographer is styled Anonymus 
Lambethiensis, from the circum- 
stance that the MS. is in the 
Lambeth Library. 



I. LETTERS. Of these a collection was made soon 
after the Archbishop's death by Alan, Abbot of Tewkes- 
bury, who arranged them in the order which he supposed 
to be that of their composition ; a and the collection was 
printed by Wolf from a MS. in the Vatican. b Many 
other letters connected with the subject have since 
appeared; but (as will be explained hereafter) very 
much remains to be done by some future editor, in order 
that this extensive correspondence may be presented in 
a satisfactory shape. 

II. CONTEMPORARY LIVES. Of these the earliest is 
probably a metrical French composition, by Gamier, or 
Gruernes, of Pont St. Maxence, c who had collected details 
of the story at Canterbury, d and had also visited the 

Alan, in S. T. C., i. 317. Some 
(as Baronius, A.D. 1162, 21) 
wrongly suppose John of Salisbury 
the collector. 

b See above, p. 4. Sir Roger 
Twysden had before prepared for 
the press a transcript of the in- 
complete Lambeth copy (Pref. to 
Mapes, * De Nugis Curialium,' ed. 
Wright, Camden Soc., 1850, p. xiii.). 
" I could wonderfully fayn enquire 
where there is a good one, that I 
might make it perfect, and so send 
it to y e presse ; for I know no man 
knowes what past in former tymes 
so well as by the Epistles then 
passed between learned men." 
Ib. xiv. 

c ' La Vie St. Thomas le Martir.' 
Of this the latter part was edited 
by Prof. Bekker, from a Wolfen- 

biittel MS., in the Transactions of 
the Berlin Academy for 1838. M. 
le Roux de Lincy published an 
edition of the whole at Paris in 
1843; and Prof. Bekker com- 
pleted his copy by printing the 
earlier part from a MS. in the 
British Museum in 1844. I have 
used the Berlin edition ; the refe- 
rences which are marked with an 
asterisk applying to the pages of 
the Transactions for 1844, while 
the other references belong to the 
part published in 1838. 

d P. 47*. Gamier says that he 
began his labours in the second 
year after the martyrdom that, 
as he obtained better information, 
he often retrenched what he had 
written and that his work was 
finished in the fourth year (p. 166). 

ClIAP. I. 


saint's sister, the Abbess Mary of Barking, who, with 
her nuns, would seem to have won his heart by their 
hospitality and munificence : 

" L'abesse, suer Seint Thomas, 
Pur s'onur et pur le barun 
M'a done palefrei et dras, 
N'i faillent nis li esperun. 
Ne getai pas mes dez sur as 
Quant jo turnai a sa maisun. 
* * * * 

Et les dames ni'ont fet tut gras 
Chescune d'eles de sun dun." a 

The prose biographers b are : 

John of Salisbury, one of the most eminent scholars 
of the age, an intimate friend of Becket, and afterwards 
Bishop of Chartres. His slight sketch received additions 
from Alan, Prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, and after- 
wards Abbot of Tewkesbury. 

Benedict, a predecessor of Alan in the Priory of Can- 
terbury, and afterwards Abbot of Peterborough, who 
wrote an account of the martyrdom, and a book on the 
miracles of the saint. 

Edward Grrim, a monk of Cambridge, whose conduct 
in the last scene of the Archbishop's life will be men- 
tioned hereafter. 

Herbert of Bosham, whose name will frequently occur 
in the story. This writer's Life of St. Thomas, although, 
as his contemporaries complained/ it is extremely prolix 

P. 78*. 

b See Pauli, Gesch. v. England, 
iii. 863 seqq., for the order and 
probable dates. 

e Of the ' Martyrdom,' only the 

fragments in the Quadrilogus ex- 
ist. The 'Miracula' are a se- 
parate publication, by Dr. Giles, 
Lond. 1850. 
d See S. T. C. vii. 3, 82. 




and contains much irrelevant matter, is very valuable. 
Of Herbert's Liber Melorum something has been said 

Roger of Pontigny, already mentioned.* 

William, Subprior of Canterbury, whose work is only 
known by fragments in the Quadrilogus, of which, indeed, 
some are identical with passages in the Life by Herbert. 

William Fitzstephen, who describes himself as the 
Archbishop's "fellow-citizen, chaplain, and table-com- 
panion, remembrancer (dictator) in his chancery, a sub- 
deacon when he celebrated mass in his chapel, a reader 
of letters and papers in his court, and sometimes at his 
desire an advocate of causes, a' witness of his trial at 
Northampton, and of his passion." d 

To these may perhaps be added the anonymous writer 
whose work Dr. Giles has printed from the Lambeth 
Library; but his pretensions appear to be somewhat 
doubtful. 6 


of Newburgh* Ralph de Diceto, e G-ervase of Canterbury^ 

P. 5. b Ib. 

c See e. g. Will, in S. T. C. ii. 
17 ; Herb. ib. vii. 241. 

d S. T. C. i. 171. Fitzstephen's 
narrative sometimes coincides with 
John of Salisbury (comp. S. T. C. 
i. 204 with 323-4). His work was 
first published in Sparke's ' His- 
torise Anglicanse Scrip tores,' 
Lond. 1723. Mr. Foss ( Judges of 
England,' i. 371) supposes him to 
have been the same William Fitz- 

stephen who in the later part of 
Henry's reign was sheriff of Glou- 
cestershire and a justice itinerant. 

e See Giles, ii. pref. ix. Dr. 
Pauli does not reckon him among 
the contemporaries (Gesch. v. 
Eng. iii. Anh.). 

' Ed. Hamilton, Lond. 1856 
(English Historical Society). 

g In Twysden, ' Hist. Angl. Scrip- 
tores Decem,' Lond. 1652. 

h Ibid. 




Benedict of Peterborough a (already mentioned as a bio- 
grapher), and Roger of Hoveden or Howden? One of 
the most valuable chroniclers of the time, Kobert of 
Thorigny, or of Mont St. Michel, appears intention- 
ally to avoid the subject of Becket's contest with 
Henry II., d and the relation in which he stood to 
the King may serve to explain his silence. 

We shall see at the very outset that, in order to 
ascertain the real facts of the story, it is necessary to 
disregard the mediaeval chroniclers of later date. 

a Ed. Hearne, Oxf. 1733. 

b In Savile, ' Eerum Anglicarum 
Scriptores post Bedam,' Lond. 

c Printed as an appendix to 
Sigebert of Geinblours, in Pertz, 
' Monumenta Germanise Historica,' 
vi., and thence copied by Migne, 
' Patrologia,' clx. 

d Thus he states, under the date 
1170, that Prince Henry was 

crowned by the Archbishop of 
York, "for that Thomas of Can- 
terbury sojourned in France for 
well-nigh six years together," but 
nothing is said as to the cause of 
this sojourn ; and with a like cau- 
tion the chronicler, in relating 
some conferences between the 
kings of France and England, ab- 
stains from mentioning that Becket 
was present at them. 





EAKLY LIFE. A.D. 1118-1154. 

THE popular story of Becket's birth is as follows : His 
father, Gilbert, became the captive of a Saracen emir 
in the Holy Land. The emir's daughter and only child 
fell in love with him, aided him to escape, and some 
time after followed him, knowing only two words of 
any European language the names of London and of 
Gilbert. By means of these, however, she was able 
to make her way from Palestine to Cheapside, where 
Gilbert's house stood, on the ground now occupied by 
the Mercers' Chapel ; and here, as she was wandering 
about, "quasi bestia erratica" a (" like a cow in a fremd 
loaning," as Scott might have translated the phrase), 
making the echoes resound with the name of her be- 
loved, and attended by a train of idle boys, she was 
recognised by Eichard, the servant of Gilbert, and com- 
panion of his adventures. And the tale ends as it 
ought to end with her baptism by the name of 
Matilda, which was solemnised by six bishops in St. 
Paul's Cathedral, her union with Gilbert, and the birth 
of a son, who was in due time to be developed into 
St. Thomas of Canterbury.^ 

a Bromton, as cited below. 
b ' Life and Martyrdom of Thomas 
Beket,' by Kobert of Gloucester, 

ed. Black. Lond. (Percy Society), 
1845, pp. 1 8 ; Bromton, ap. Twys- 
den, 1053-5; Quadril. Prior, in 

A.D. 1118. 



Dr. Giles sees "no reason to doubt" this story ; a and 
it is told without any appearance of misgiving by 
Thierry, b by Froude, c and by Michelet d Mr. Sharon 
Turner also adopts it, e although not without some sus- 
picions, in which he would seem to have been preceded 
by Berington/ And the assumption of its truth has 
been made to serve as an explanation of various things, 
such as the character of Matilda's devotion, her son's 
social position, his vehement "Oriental" temperament, 
nay, the delicate shape and whiteness of his hands. g 
As to the details, authors are not quite agreed. Some 
represent Gilbert as a gentleman travelling for the im- 
provement of his mind, like Lord Lindsay or Mr. Eliot 
Warburton ; some make him a penitential pilgrim ; 
others a crusading knight ; while Sir James Mackintosh 
(who, however, argues only for the possibility of the 
story, and not for its truth) supposes him to have been 
a trader, journeying in the way of business. 11 But 
M. Thierry boldly turns him into an exemplification of 
the great Saxon theory. Gilbert, he says, 1 was one of 
those Saxons who, "yielding to the necessity of a sub- 
sistence," took service under Norman masters ; and 

S. T. C. ii. 183-7. The passages 
in Bromton and the first Quadri- 
logue are identical ; the story does 
not occur in the second Quadri- 

* Life of Becket, i. 14. 

b iii. 95. 

c " His mother was certainly a 
Saracen." 33. 

d Hist, de France, iii. 149, ed. 
Brux. 1840. 

e England during the Middle 
Ages, 3rd ed. i. 221. 

f " So relates the fabling Brom- 
ton." Berington, Hist, of Hen. II. 
p. 60. 

8 Froude, 91. Professor Keuter 
does not well know what to make 
of it, but seems to believe the 
Saracen parentage, i. 295. 

h Hist. Eng. i. 153. 

1 iii. 95. 


thus, in some subordinate capacity, lie attended an 
anonymous knight "of alien race" to the Holy Land. 
And if we desire proof of this view, the historian of the 
Conquest refers us to Bromton, who describes Gilbert 
as a pilgrim going to Jerusalem in consequence of a 
vow, and taking with him one servant out of a numerous 
household, and to the Scotch ballad of " Young Bekie " 
(once familiar to London streets through the travestie 
entitled " Lord Bateman " a ), in which he figures as a 
lord of castles and broad lands, impelled to rove by an 
enlightened curiosity ! 

The marriage, we learn from M. Thierry, b made a 
great noise as well it might. It is, however, remark- 
able that no sound or echo of this noise reached the 
contemporaries who lived in intimacy with the offspring 
of the union, and wrote his life such as Grim and 
Koger, Gamier of Pont St. Maxence, Herbert of Bosham, 
Fitzstephen, and John of Salisbury. These and other 
early writers, while they mention the parents of the 
saint, and describe their station and characters, say 
nothing whatever which could imply that there was any- 
thing extraordinary in their history that Gilbert had 
ever visited the East, whether as master or as servant, 
as inquiring traveller, crusader, palmer, or merchant 
or that Matilda was other than the home-born child of 
Christian parents. In short, the romantic account of 
Becket's parentage is one of the innumerable fictions 
which have grown up around his memory, and is un- 

Published about 1840, with illustrations by Cruikshank. 
b iii. 97. 

A.D. 1118. 



known to any writer earlier than the compiler of the 
First Quadrilogue, if he was earlier than Kobert of 
Gloucester, whose metrical account of the 'Life and 
Martyrdom ' was composed a century after the hero's 
death. a 

There is, however, a further question as to Gilbert 
Was he a Saxon at all ? " It appears," says M. Thierry, 
" that his real name was Beck, and that the Normans, 
among whom he lived, added to this a familiar diminu- 
tive, and thus turned it into Becket" b But in truth the 
word leek, instead of being exclusively Saxon, was one 
of the few remains of their old Teutonic language which 
lingered among the descendants of the Northmen after 
their settlement in France : thus Caudefoc, Bolfoe, and 
the famous abbey of Le Bee, which within the first 
century after the Conquest gave three primates to the 
English Church, each derived its name from its beck or 
brook. And as beck was used to signify a brook, so we 
know, from the evidence of Norman 'charters, that the 
diminutive bequet (or becket) was used to signify a little 
brook ; d and, moreover, the earliest appearance of this 
diminutive as a surname in any formal document is not 
in England, but in Normandy. 6 Nothing, therefore, could 

a Mr. J. G. Nichols has gone 
beyond all former upholders of 
the Eastern parentage by suppos- 
ing that, as Becket was afterwards 
styled Thomas of Acre, his birth 
took place at that city. (Pilgrim- 
ages of Walsingham and Canter- 
bury, 120, Lond. 1849.) But the 
connexion of Acre with the name 
is known to have originated in 

1190, when, on the taking of Acre, 
an order in honour of St. Thomas 
was founded there. See Diceto, ap. 
Twysden, 654 ; Dugdale's Monast. 
Angl. vi. 645-6. 

b iii. 95. 

c Lanfranc, Anselm, and Theo- 

d See Ducange, s. v. Bequetus. 

e Manzer de Becket is mentioned 




well be more unfortunate than the attempt to press 
the family name into the service of M. Thierry's Saxon 
theory . a On the other hand, we have express state- 
ments in the early writers that the Archbishop's descent 
was Norman; for Fitzstephen states that a Norman 
origin was a bond of common interest between Gilbert 
and Archbishop Theobald ; b and another biographer 
tells us that Gilbert was a native of Kouen one of 
many who settled in England for purposes of commerce 
and that his wife was a native of Caen, named Koesa. 
The statement of this last writer as to the wife's name 
is indeed contradictory of all other old authorities/ and 
one of Becket's own letters seems to imply that the 
family had been resident in London for more than one 
generation ; e but that it was originally Norman appears 
to be certain. If we might venture on an attempt to 
harmonise accounts which after all must remain in some 
measure inconsistent, we should conjecture that the 

in the Kotuli Scaccarii Normannise 
for 1180. See Lappenberg, in 
Pauli, iii. 14. 

The prefix a, which is some- 
times invested with the dignity of 
an accent (a) and sometimes cut 
short by an apostrophe (a'), has 
no countenance from the old 
writers, and appears to have ori- 
ginated in vulgar colloquial usage. 
See Henry Wharton, note in 
Strype's ' Cranmer,' p. 257. 

b " Gilbertus cum domino ar- 
chiprsesule de propinquitate et ge- 
nere loquebatur ; ut ille ortu Nor- 
mannus, et circa Tierrici villam, 
de equestri ordine, natu vicinus." 

S. T. C., i. 184. 

c Anon. Lambeth, ib. ii. 73. 

d At least I have not observed it 
elsewhere ; but it is to be found in 
Fox, Acts and Mon.' (i. 232, ed. 
1684.) Whence did he derive it? 

e " Quod si ad generis mei ra- 
dicem et progeni tores meos in- 
tendeds, cives quidem fuerunt Lon- 
donienses, in medio concivium 
suorum habitantes sine querela, 
nee omnino infimi." S.T.C. iii. 286. 
John of Salisbury styles him " Na- 
tione Londoniensis " (Ep. 193) ; 
and Eoger Wendover speaks of 
him as an " indigena " of London, 
ii. 293. 

A.D. 1118. 



Archbishop's grandfather was the original settler in 
England; that he, like his son (who may have been 
born before the migration), bore the name of Gilbert ; 
and that his wife was named Koesa, or Koheise a name 
which appears again in one of her grandchildren.* By 
position Gilbert would seem to have belonged to the 
most respectable class of citizens, b and at one time he 
held the office of portreve, which was the title then 
given to the chief magistrate of London. 6 

The birth of Thomas is said to have taken place on 

* See the last Appendix. Dean | 
Milman adopts the statement of the 
AnonymusLambethiensis, and sup- 
poses " the royal name of Matil- 
da " to be a romantic ornament (iii. 
445) . But I must hesitate to place so 
much confidence in a writer whose 
name and circumstances are utterly 
unknown, and who appears to be 
never cited or alluded to by any 
other old authority. In West- 
cote's 'View of Devonshire in | 
1630 ' (edd. Oliver and Jones, Exe- 
ter, 1845) is a pedigree deducing 
Becket's descent from a half-bro- 
ther of King Arthur ! What would 
M. Thierry have made of this Bri- 
tish genealogy ? Its value may be 
readily estimated from the follow- 
ing sample : " William, lord of Lis- 
keard, withstood the Conqueror a 
long time; but in fine, he saw 
force could not [?] prevail. He 
privately changed his name and 
arms, and took those of his mother 
[daughter of Allard Becket]. He 
had issue Edmund. Edmund 
Becket left issue Gilbert ; Gilbert 
Becket married Maud, daughter of 

the Earl of Chylye : his mother 
was of Syria ; he was born in Lon- 
don : of him is the Earl of Or- 
mond and Queen Elizabeth, and 
had issue, besides others, Thomas 
Becket, &c." P. 459. 

b This seems to be implied in 
Becket's words " nee omnino in- 
firm," although Mr. Foss (i. 194) 
and Dean Milman (iii. 445) take 
them in their most literal mean- 
ing " not of the lowest class." 
See too S. T. C., iii. 178. Grim 
says, " ambo generis et divitiaruin 
splendore suis nequaquam con- 
civibus inferiores " (ib. i. 4). Roger, 
" secundum civilem statum emi- 
nentissimis." Ib. 92. Anything 
which is said by the old writers 
as to the parents being of " ob- 
scure" or "middling" condition 
may be explained either by the 
contrast between them and their 
famous son, or as spoken in com- 
parison with classes above that of 

c Fitzst. in S. T. C., i. 183 ; Stow, 
Survey of London, 535-6, Lond., 


the feast of the Apostle whose name he bore a (Dec. 21), 
most probably in the year 1118 ; b and the old bio- 
graphers of course embellish the story of it with omens 
of his future greatness. We are told, for instance, that, 
when the case of the Saracen maiden was propounded 
by Gilbert to the Bishop of London, who was sitting 
with six of his brethren in consultation on the affairs 
of church or state, the Bishop of Chichester burst forth 
into prophecy that from her must proceed an illustrious 
offspring, by whose holiness and exertions the Church 
would be " exalted aloft to the glory of Christ." c Then 
follow tales of dreams with which Matilda was favoured 
during 'her pregnancy, dreams which are neither very 
consistently reported, nor very congruously interpreted 
of the events which were to follow. d And, lastly, it is 
related that on the day which witnessed his entrance 
into the world, a fire broke out in his father's house and 
laid waste a great part of the city typical, according 
to Grim, of the fire of devotion and the zeal for church- 
building which were to burst forth in consequence of 
his martyrdom ! e Gilbert in the mean time, according 
to the legend, had again set forth for the Holy Land ; 
for on the morning after his marriage his troubled 
appearance had excited the anxiety of Matilda, and, in 
answer to her inquiries, he told her that his night 

Roger, 94. 

b See Pauli, 14 ; Buss, 55. 

c Bromton, 1054. 

1118, was really remarkable for 
the most violent wind that any 
one then living could remember 

d Ib. 1055 ; Grim, in S. T. C., I (Annal. Waverl. ap. Gale, ii.) ; 
i. 4 ; Roger, 93 - 4 ; Garnier, but of this the biographers know 


e S. T. C., i. 6. St. Thomas's Day, 


A.D. 1118-1130. EAKLY YEAKS. 17 

thoughts had allowed him no rest, and that he must 
once more take the cross ; to which the pious heroine 
consented, on condition that the trusty Richard should 
be left with her as interpreter and steward. This 
absence is said to have lasted three years and a half, a 
and is, we need hardly say, as fabulous as the earlier 

The parents of Thomas are described as resembling 
Zacharias and Elizabeth in the piety and blamelessness 
of their lives. b Among other exercises of charity, we 
are told that Matilda was accustomed to weigh her boy 
from time to time, putting into the opposite scale 
money, clothes, and provisions, which she afterwards 
distributed to the poor. She carefully taught him in 
his infancy the principles of religion, and by her direc- 
tion he chose the Blessed Virgin as his especial guide 
and patroness, " on whom, after Christ, he should cast 
all his trust." d 

At the age of ten Thomas was committed for education 
to the Prior of St. Mary's, at Merton, in Surrey, a society 
of Augustinian Canons which had then been lately 
founded. 6 Here, it is said, his father, on one of his 
visits to the boy, prostrated himself reverentially before 
him. "Foolish old man," said the prior, "what art 
thou doing ? Dost thou fall down at the feet of thy son ? 
It would be fitter that he should do thee that honour." 
" I know, Sir," said Gilbert, " what I am about ; for this 

K. Gloucest. 8 ; Bromton, 1055. 
b Grim, 4. c Roger, 97. 

d Job. Sarisb. in S. T. C., i. 319. 

e See Manning and Bray, 'Hist, 
of Surrey,' i. 243-5. 




boy shall be great in the sight of the Lord." a From 
Merton Thomas was removed to the schools of London, 
which he attended for some time. b In these early days 
he displayed quick abilities and great strength of 
memory ; but it would seem that he was little given to 
study, and his idler tendencies were encouraged by a 
rich and powerful nobleman, Kicher de 1'Aigle, of 
Pevensey Castle, in Sussex. This personage, the great 
grandson of a warrior who had fallen on the victorious 
side at Hastings, and kinsman of other De 1'Aigles, 
who were conspicuous among the Normans of France 
and Italy, d was in the habit, during his visits to London, 
of lodging at Gilbert Becket's house ; and the host's 
handsome, clever, agreeable son became the favourite 
companion of the baron's amusements. They hunted 
and hawked together : and once, while hawking in 
Kicher's company, Thomas narrowly escaped from 
being drowned in a mill-pond, or carried by the stream 
into the mill. The old biographers agree that his pre- 
servation was miraculous ; but while one ascribes it to a 
spontaneous stoppage of the wheels, another makes the 
miracle consist in the circumstance that the miller, 
without knowing anything of the lad's danger, turned 
off the water at the critical moment. 6 

Matilda died when her son had reached the age of 

* Fitzsteph. in S. T. C., i. 183. 

* Ib. 

c Anon. Lambeth., ib. ii. 75. 

d See Order. Vital., ed. Le Pre- 
vost, t. ii. 400 ; iii. 29, 197, 198 ; 
Chron. Casin. iv. 7, 12, 53, &c. (in 

Pertz, vii.) ; Dugdale's Baronage, 
i. 495 ; Nicolas, Histor. Peerage, 
art. Aquila. 

e Grim, 8 ; Roger, 96 ; Gamier, 
49*. There are other discrepancies 
hi the accounts. 

A.D. 1130-1144. 



twerjty-one, a and it was probably about this date that he 
repaired for a time to Paris, with a view to getting rid 
of his English accent, according to Thierry and Lord 
Campbell. b Of Gilbert's later years we only know that 
he survived his wife, and that his circumstances were 
much reduced by repeated fires and other calamities.* 1 
It was probably in consequence of this impoverishment 
that his son, on returning from France, became clerk 
and accountant to a rich kinsman, a merchant named 
Osbern Huit-deniers, e and afterwards filled a like situa- 
tion under the sheriffs (or portreves) of London/ In 
those troubled days the citizens bore an important part 
in the contest between King Stephen and the Empress 
Matilda, and thus, it would seem, the chief magistrate's 

a Koger, 97. 

b Thierry, iii. 97; Campbell, 
Lives of Chancellors, i. 63. I am 
not aware that this object is men- 
tioned by the old writers (as Fit/st. 
in S. T. C., i. 183 ; Quadr. Prior, 
ib. ii. 190) : but if it were, it would 
be no proof of Becket's Saxon ori- 
gin, since the French of Anglo- 
Normans was not the purest. Gar- 
nier says of himself (p. 166) 

" Mis languages est bons ; car en France 

and John of Salisbury, in some 
verses 'De rotundatoribus verbi,' 

" Hoc ritu linguam comit Normannus, 

Dum cupit urbanus, Francigenamque 

Aulicus hoc noster tumidus sermone 

Ridet natalis rustica verba soli. 

Sermo rotundas hie est, quern regula 

nulla coarctat, 

Quern gens nulla po test dicere jure suum." 
En theticus de Dogm. Philosophorum, 1 39 seq . 

c Will. Cant, in S. T. C., ii. 1. 

d Grim, ib. i. 7. 

e Grim, 9. The name in Dr. 
Giles's edition is Octonumini, which 
Dean Milman, seeing that it could 
not be right, alters into Octouomini. 
(Lat. Christ, iii. 446.) Gamier, 
according to one MS., has " Osbern 
dit Deniers;" but another MS. 
reads "TFMeniers" (50*). Thus 
the French and the Latin serve to 
correct each other ; the true read- 
ings being Wit- [or in modern 
French Huit-~\ deniers and Octonum- 
ini. Whether any such surname 
now exists I do not know ; but we 
have analogous names in Twopenny 
and Twentypenny. [Since this was 
written I find that Mr. Morris 
takes the same view (p. 404).] 

' Fitzst. 183. 

c 2 




clerk was introduced into political business.* He was, 
however, soon to emerge into a higher sphere. 

Among the persons who, like Richer de PAigle, were 
accustomed to lodge occasionally in Gilbert Becket's 
house, were two brothers of Boulogne, Archdeacon Bald- 
win and Master Eustace, who thus had opportunities of 
knowing the young Thomas from his early years, and, as 
he advanced in age, were greatly struck with his abilities 
and manners ; and by these Norman ecclesiastics he 
was introduced into the service of the pri- 
A.D. 1144? mate Theobald, who (as we have already seen) 
is described by Fitzstephen as ready to welcome 
him for his father's sake. b The favour by which his 
new master soon distinguished him was such as to excite 
envy, and especially in Roger of Pont l'Eveque, c a clerk 
of eminent learning, but of a contentious and imprac- 
ticable spirit, which he displayed throughout a long and 
prosperous, but restless, life. This man had recourse to 
every possible means of annoyance against Thomas 
" the Baille-hache clerk," or " clerk with the hatchet," 
as he styled him from the name of a lay member of the 
household, in whose company he had first appeared at 
the archiepiscopal residence of Harrow. d By his in- 

Pauli, 15. 

b Seep. 14; Roger, 98; Fitzst. 184. 

c " De Ponte Episcopi." Some 
writers translate this " of Bishops- 
bridge ; " but Bromton describes 
Eoger as a Neustrian (1057), aud 
Pont 1'Eveque in Normandy seems 
to be meant. 

d E le clerc Baille-hache plusurs feiz 
lenutua" (Gamier, 50*); 

" Clericum cum ascia vel securi " 
(Grim, 10) ; " Ita ut Thomam cle- 
ricum Baille-hache plerumque vo- 
citaret " (Eoger, 99). These three 
writers, however, say nothing of 
Archdeacon Baldwin and his bro- 
ther, but give the whole credit of 
the introduction to Baille-hacLe, 
whom they represent as Gilbert 

. 1144-1150. 



dtistrious misrepresentations of him to the Archbishop, 
Koger twice succeeded in procuring his dismissal. But 
on both occasions the young man was restored through 
the kind offices of the Primate's brother, Walter, Arch- 
deacon of Canterbury.* 

In 1147, Walter was promoted by his brother's in- 
fluence to the see of Rochester,* and Eoger succeeded 
him in the archdeaconry. 6 But by this time Becket had 
probably established himself so firmly that he could 
afford to disregard the enmity of his old persecutor. 
Preferment flowed in on him rapidly, and from various 
quarters. He held the living of St. Mary le Strand in 
London/ that of Otford in Kent ; he was a prebendary 

Becket's occasional lodger. Eoger 
styles him " quidam officialis 
[archiepiscopi] ;" .and Garnier " un 
sun mareschal." 

Grim, i. 10 ; Fitzst. 185. 

b This see appears to have been 
practically in the gift of the Pri- 
mate, to whom the Bishop of 
Rochester stood in a peculiarly 
subordinate relation. The monks 
of Rochester made their election 
in the chapter-house of Canterbury, 
and the bishop took a special oath 
of fidelity to the metropolitan. 
After the death of Walter, and still 
more decidedly after that of his 
successor Waleran, the Rochester 
monks rebelled against the privi- 
leges of the church of Canterbury. 
See Diceto, 614 ; Gervase, 1362 ; 
and other passages indicated under 
the word Rofa, in the index to the 
Decem Scriptores ; Godwin, 527-8 ; 
Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 344-5 ; 

Alan of Tewkesbury, Ep. 3 (in 
Giles, S. T. C., viii.) ; Le Neve's 
Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 558-560. 

c Grim, 10. 

d Stow (Survey, 86, ed. 1633) 
says that it was St, Mary-at-Hill ; 
and Mr. Foss, who repeats the 
statement, supposes that there was 
then no parish of St. Mary-le- 
Strand (i. 395). But St. Mary-at- 
Hill is styled in Latin " ad Mon- 
tem ; " whereas Fitzstephen styles 
Becket's church " ecclesiam B. 
Mariae littoream" (S. T. C., i. 185) ; 
and there was, as Stow himself 
elsewhere states (489-490), a 
church of St. Mary-le-Strand, until 
it, with other buildings, was swept 
away under Edward VI., in order 
to make room for Somerset House. 
Bisbop Godwin, who lived between 
the demolition of the old church 
and the erection of the present 
one, wrongly connects Becket with 




of St. Paul's and of Lincoln ; and already he was noted 
for his splendour, charity, and munificence.* On en- 
tering the Archbishop's family he had found himself 
inferior in learning to some of his brother clerks ; but he 
had diligently endeavoured to make up for his past neg- 
lect/ and, not content with such opportunities as England 
afforded, he obtained leave to avail himself of the ad- 
vantages which were to be found in the Continental 
schools. The study of Koman law had lately been re- 
vived, and had been greatly promoted by the patronage 
of Theobald, who imported manuscripts and established 
Master Vacarius as a lecturer at Oxford ; and, although 
King Stephen had silenced the Professor, and had ordered 
the books to be destroyed, the forbidden science continued 
to be cultivated. A year at Bologna (where Gratian, 
the great oracle of ecclesiastical law, was then to be 
heard), and a shorter residence at Auxerre, were de- 
voted by Becket to legal study, d and the fruits of it 
appeared both for good and for evil in his after life. 

His interest with the Archbishop steadily increased, 
and his skill in the management of affairs was shown in 
various important and delicate missions. 6 It was by his 
agency that Theobald obtained from Eome the revoca- 
tion of the legatine commission by which Henry, Bishop 
of Winchester, had been raised to a dangerous rivalry 

" Mom S. Marise " (72). The list 
of incumbents in Newcourt's ' Ee- 
pertorium ' does not reach so far 
back as Becket's time. 

tt Roger, 101. 

b Fitzst., 184. 

* Job. Sarisb. Polycrat., viii. 22 ; 

Gervas., 1665 ; Blackstone, ed. 
Kerr, i. 12-3; Phillipps, Engl. 
Eeichs- und Eechtsgeschichte, i. 

d Fitzst., 185. 

e Job. Sarisb. in S. T. C., i. 320 ; 
Fitzst., 185 ; Wendover, ii. 293. 

A.D. 1150-4. 



with the Primate ; a it was Becket who, in 1152, 
paved the way for the succession of Henry II., by pre- 
vailing on Eugenius III. to forbid the coronation of 
Eustace as his father's colleague, although King Ste- 
phen had sent Henry, Archbishop of York, to urge his 
suit at the Papal court; b and when, in 1154, Koger of 
Pont 1'Eveque was promoted to the see of York, the 
merits and the exertions of Becket were rewarded with 
the archdeaconry of Canterbury, an office which gave 
him the first place among the clergy after the bishops 
and abbots, with an income of a hundred pounds a year. c 
To this were now added the provostship of Beverley, 
and other lucrative preferments ; so that Becket, when 
afterwards reproached as if he had owed everything to 
the favour of Henry II., could fairly reply by mention- 
ing the large pluralities which he had held before enter- 
ing into the royal serviced Although among these were 

* Gervas. 1665, where Celestine 
II. is named as the pope who re- 
voked the grant ; but his papacy 
lasted only from Sept. 26, 1143, 
to March 8, 1144, and probably 
ended before Becket was even in- 
troduced to Theobald. Hence 
Inett (ii. 203) would place the 
mission to Rome under Lucius 
II. (1144-5), or Eugenius III. (1145- 

b Gervas., 1371 ; Joh. Hagustald. 
279. Gamier (51), and Koger 
(100), between whom there is 
in general a remarkable agree- 
ment, say that Theobald took 
Becket to Rome with him. If so, it 
must have been in the end of the 
pontificate of Innocent II., A.D. 

1143 ; and Becket's introduction to 
the Archbishop must be dated early 
enough to accord with this. But 
perhaps the mention of Rome may 
be a mistake for Rheims, where 
Becket attended on his master at 
the council held by Eugenius in 
March, 1148. 

c Fitzst, 186. 

d " De exili me commemoras ad 

summa provectum De quam 

exili, putas? Si tempus, quo me 
in ministerio suo [rex] prsestituit, 
respicias, archidiaconatus Can- 
tuarise, prsepositura Beverlaci, 
plurimse ecclesise, prebendse non- 
nullse, alia etiam non pauca, qusB 
nominis mei erant possessio tune 
temporis, adeo tenuem, ut dicis, 



"very many parish churches," the circumstance that 
he was only a deacon was no hindrance to the accumu- 
lation of benefices on him ; for in those days a pros- 
perous ecclesiastic would seem to have regarded his 
parishes merely as sources of income, while he com- 
placently devolved the care of each on some ill-paid 
priest. Nor, when Becket afterwards appeared as a re- 
former of ecclesiastical abuses, did he make any attempt 
to remedy this, which to modern apprehensions may, 
perhaps, seem the most crying abuse of all. 

In October, 1154 (a few weeks before the election of 
Adrian IV., the only Englishman who has filled the Papal 
chair), Stephen died, and, according to a compact which 
had been concluded after the death of Eustace in the 
preceding year, Henry II. added the kingdom of Eng- 
land to the wide continental dominions which he pos- 
sessed in right of his father, his mother, and his wife. 
The troubles of the late reign, during which the support 
of the clergy was of great importance to the contending 
claimants, and the legate, Henry of Winchester, had for 
a time almost held the crown in his disposal,* had been 
favourable to the Church's advancement in secular 
power. But there was now reason to apprehend that 
the restoration of order might be fatal to the privileges 
which had been gained under cover of confusion. The 

quantum ad ea quse mundi sunt, 
contradicunt me fuisse." Thorn, 
ad Gilb., Lond. Episc. Epp. ii. 
286. Nothing is known of Becket 
as provost of Beverley. Oliver's 
' Beverlac.' 

a " Cum esset Anglise dominus, 
utpote frater regis et upostolicae 

sedis legatus" (Gerv. Dorob., 1343). 
At the Council of Winchester, in 
1142, the legate had said of the 
clergy, "ad cujus jus potissimum 
spectat principem eligere, simulque 
ordinare." W. Malmesb. Hist.- 
Novella, iii. 44. (Patrol, clxxix.) 

A.D. 1154. 


King was in his twenty-second year, and had as yet had 
little opportunity of displaying his character ; but his 
descent on both sides was such as to raise serious appre- 
hensions in the clergy. His father, Geoffrey of Anjou, 
had been notorious for his outrages against some mem- 
bers of the order. a His mother, Matilda, as one of 
Becket's friends afterwards said, was "of the race of 
tyrants," b grand-daughter of the Conqueror, who had 
sternly "kept all the staves in his own hands," c and whose 
resolute character had awed even the great hierarch 
Gregory VII., niece and daughter of the royal perser 
cutors of Anselm, widow of an emperor who had im- 
prisoned Pope Paschal II., with his college of cardinals, 
and again widow of the fierce Count of Anjou. It 
was believed that the King had been powerfully influ- 
enced by the lessons of policy which his mother had 
inculcated on him ; d and he had married a princess, 
Eleanor, the divorced Queen of France, whose father 
had been as little disposed to respect the hierarchy as 
Geoffrey of Anjou himself. 6 Nor were there wanting 
counsellors ready to suggest measures adverse to the 
Church/ It was therefore desirable for the interests 

* See Girald. Camb. de Instit. 
Principum, 17 (ed. Anglia Christia- 
na Society). Fitzsteph., 230. 

b See below, p. 154. 

c According to Gervase of Can- 
terbury, he used this phrase in 
refusing Lanfranc's request that 
the investiture of the abbots of St. 
Augustine's might be restored to 
the Archbishops (Twysden, 1327). 
But Thorn ascribes the speech to 

William Rufus (ib. 1294). 

d Mapes de Nugis Curialium, 

e W. Malmesb. in Patrol, clxxix. 

f John of Salisbury writes in 
Theobald's name to the King 
" Suggerunt vobis filii sseculi hujus 
ut Ecclesise minuatis auctoritatem, 
ut vobis regia dignitas augeatur." 
Ep. 64, s. fin. 




of the hierarchy that some counteracting influence should 
be provided, and with this view the Archdeacon of Can- 
terbury was introduced by the Primate to the King, in 
accordance with the advice of Philip, Bishop of Bayeux, 
and of the politic Arnulf, Bishop of Lisieux. a His 
effectual negotiations in the cause of Henry's succession 
were probably too recent to be forgotten, and he well 
knew how to improve the favourable impression pro- 
duced by his own services, and by the recommendation 
of his patrons. He is described to us as tall and hand- 
some in person, of eloquent and witty speech, of an 
apprehension so quick as to give him an advantage over 
men of greater knowledge, an accomplished chess-player, 
a master in hunting, falconry, and other manly exer- 
cises. b With such outward advantages, and with a 
foundation of solid ability and acquirements, it was no 
wonder that he soon gained an ascendant over the 
youthful King ; and in the first year of Henry's reign he 
was raised to the dignity of Chancellor. 

Roger in S. T. C., i. 101 ; W. 
Cant., ib. ii. 2. 

b Job. garish, in S. T. C., i. 319 ; 
Fitzst., ib. i. 188. 

c Tbe appointment has been 
variously dated from 1155 to 1158 ; 
but tbat it probably followed 
quickly on Henry's coronation (Dec. 
19, 1154), see Foss, i. 163, 196. 
Gervase says, " Statim in initio 
regni " (1377). In tbe new edition 
of Eymer's ' Foedera ' (i. 41) is an 
undated grant from Henry to tbe 

Earl of Arundel, wbicb bas among 
the names of the witnesses " Theo. 

archiepiscopo Cantuar N. 

Epo. de Ely et Cancellario ; " and 
hence it would seem as if Nigel, 
bishop of Ely, had been Henry's 
Chancellor before Becket. But 
Mr. Foss shows reason for believ- 
ing that et is a mistake for T., the 
initial letter of Becket's Christian 
name, and that he was really the 
Chancellor who signed, i. 166. 

A.D. 1154-5. 



THE functions of the Chancellor of England in the 
twelfth century were considerably different from those 
of his official descendants in our own time. Although, 
like other great personages, he occasionally took part in 
the administration of justice (and Becket is found to 
have been thus employed in various parts of the king- 
dom 11 ), no judicial duties were directly attached to his 
office, b which may be described as combining something 
like the deanery of the royal chapel with something 
like a Secretaryship of State. He had the custody of 
the Great Seal, the superintendence of the King's chapel, 
the care of vacant sees, abbacies, and baronies ; he was 
entitled, without any summons, to attend all the King's 
councils ; and all royal grants passed through his hands. 
" Moreover," says Fitzstephen, " the merits of his life by 
God's grace furthering him, it is his privilege not to die 
otherwise than an Archbishop or a Bishop, if he so will ; 
and hence it is that the Chancellorship may not be pur- 

a Foss, i. 198. 

b See Appendix I. 

c So too in France the Arch- 
chaplain was the same with the 
Chancellor. Fitzstephen describes 
the Chancellor as next in dignity to 
the King ; but it seems to be certain 

that the Grand Justiciary had 
precedence of him. (Lyttelton's 
Henry II., iii. 3.) Lord Campbell 
says that he was " only sixth of the 
great officers under the crown," 
i. 5. 




chased." a Although, however, this plausible rule had 
been laid down in order to exclude the danger of simony 
in the matter of appointment to bishoprics, the Chan- 
cellorship was in reality often sold ; and Becket himself 
was afterwards charged with having bought it at a sort 
of auction, and paid " many thousands of marks " for it. b 
In his new eminence, as before in the Archbishop's 
household, he was at first beset by much envy and 
malignity ; and so keenly did he feel the attacks which 
were made on him that he professed to his intimate 
friends to be weary of his life, and eager to leave the 
Court, if it were possible to do so without disgrace. But 
he speedily triumphed over the intrigues of his enemies, 
and attained the highest place in the King's confidence 
and affection. One writer speaks of him as a " second 
Joseph set over the land of Egypt ;" d another styles 
him " the King's governor, and, as it were, master ;" e a 
third says that he " seemed to be a partner in the king- 
dom." f " It sounds in the ears and mouth of the people 
that you and the King are one heart and one soul," writes 
Archbishop Theobald in a letter to him. g " Who," asks 
another correspondent, "is ignorant that you are the 
next person to the King in four kingdoms ? " h As Henry's 

a 186. See Foss, i. 14 ; Phillipps, 
ii. 59. 

b "Certa licitatione proposita." 
(Foliot, Ep. 194, S. T. C., v. 268.) 
The question as to the genuineness 
of this letter will be mentioned here- 
after. (Appendix VI.) Dr.Lappen- 
berg discredits the charge against 
Becket (n. in Pauli, iii. 16). See 
Appendix II. 

c Roger, in S. T. C., i. 102; 
Joh. Sarisb., ib. 321; Herb., in 
S. T. C., vii. 21. 

d Grim, 11. 

* Gerv. Dorob., 1382. 

f W. Neubrig., ii. 16. 

g Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 78. 

h Pet. Cellens., Ep. i. 24. (Pa- 
trol, ccii.) 

A.D. 1155. 



chief adviser, he is entitled to a large share of praise for 
the measures which were taken to improve the state of 
the country. The foreign mercenaries, who had fearfully 
oppressed the people by their exactions (and not alto- 
gether without excuse, inasmuch as they were driven to 
plunder by the want of regular pay a ), were peremptorily 
compelled to leave the realm. The castles, which had 
sprung up in great numbers during the troubled reign 
of Stephen, 15 to the injury of the Crown and the oppres- 
sion of the subjects, were razed to the ground, the 
Chancellor taking part in the execution of the measure 
as well as in the determination of it. Thieves and rob- 
bers were put down, and many of them gladly exchanged 
their lawless manner of life for the pursuits of regular- 
industry. " The ravening wolves fled," says William of 
Kewburgh, " or were changed into sheep ; or, if not 
really changed, yet, through fear of the laws, they re- 
mained harmlessly among the sheep." c Families were 
reinstated in possessions of which they had been wrong- 
fully deprived ; agriculture and other peaceful arts 
began to nourish anew ; and one great ecclesiastical 
abuse, the practice of keeping bishoprics and abbeys 
long vacant for the purpose of securing to the Crown 
the revenues during the vacancy, was mitigated, al- 
though not abandoned. d 

The private intercourse of the Sovereign with his 

Gesta Stephani, ed. Sewell, 

b These are reckoned by Kobert 
of Mont St. Michel at 375 v Contin. 
Sigeb., A.D. 1152, ap. Migne, 

Patrol., clx. 476), while Diceto 
makes the number 1115! (ap 
Twysd. 528). See Lingard, ii. 96. 

c ii. 1. 

d Fitzst., 187, 191, &c. 


minister was on the most intimate footing. When 
serious business was over, says Fitzstephen, they played 
together, like boys of the same age. They were com- 
panions in all manner of amusements ; and often, when 
the Chancellor was at dinner, entertaining, as his custom 
was, a splendid party of nobles and knights, the King, 
in returning from the chace, would walk in without 
ceremony, and would either drink a cup and be gone, or 
leap over the table and seat himself as a guest. And the 
biographer adds the well-known story, how the King, as 
he was riding through London with the Chancellor on a 
cold wintry day, stripped off the struggling favourite's 
rich furred cloak, to bestow it on a shivering beggar. a 

In addition to the chancellorship, Henry conferred on 
Becket the wardenship of the castles of Eye and Berk- 
hampstead the former with the service of a hundred 
and forty knights attached to it ; and his ecclesiastical 
preferments were still further increased, especially by 
the deanery of Hastings, a royal chapel to which a 
college of secular canons was attached. b In those days 
the chancellor was not a patron, but a receiver, of bene- 
fices; and such was Becket's popularity with all who 
possessed such patronage, that, according to Fitzstephen, 
he might, by merely asking for things as they fell 
vacant, have become in time the one sole incumbent of 
all ecclesiastical preferment. 

The splendour which Becket displayed as chancellor 

S. T. C., i. 191-3. 
b Monast. Anglic., vi. 1470. 
c 188. Dr. Pauli seems to mis- 
apprehend the Lord Chancellor's 

present relation to the Church, in 
saying that he still has " die Ver- 
waltung der Kircheng Liter unter 
sich " (p. 17). 


is dwelt on by all his biographers. " So great," says 
Eoger of Pontigny, " was the multitude of soldiers and 
men of various kinds which followed him, that the King 
himself sometimes seemed to be deserted in compa- 
rison."* But Fitzstephen, in particular, rises above 
himself in describing his master's state. The troops of 
attendants the profusion of gold and silver plate the 
sumptuous fare, provided without any regard to cost 
the throng of knights and nobles who enjoyed his mag-^ 
nificent hospitality the daily supply of rushes in 
winter, and of green branches in summer, that those 
who could not find room on the benches might not be , 
obliged to soil their dress by sitting on the bare floor 
the voluntary homage of many barons the costly and 
profuse gifts of horses, hawks, money, vestments, gold 
and silver vessels the eagerness with which persons of 
high rank strove to place their sons in a household 
which was regarded as the best school of noble breeding, 
and of which even the heir-apparent of the kingdom was 
an inmate these and other circumstances are set forth 
by the biographer b in a style which leads us to suspect 
that, although he had followed his patron in the more 
spiritual part of his career, his memory was by no means 
unwilling to revert to the braveries of which he had been 
an admiring spectator while the saint was as yet a child 
of this world. 

But the most signal exhibition of Becket's pomp was 
when, in 1159, he went on an embassy into France, in 
order to ask the Princess Margaret in marriage for his 

a S. T. C., i. 303. > 188-190. 


royal pupil. Fitzstephen's account of this expedition reads 
like a fairy tale. The carriages drawn by five horses each ; 
the huge train of clerks, knights, men-at-arms, falcon- 
ers with their hawks, huntsmen with their dogs, and do- 
mestics of every kind all arrayed in brilliant new holiday 
attire ; the menagerie of strange beasts ; the fierce mastiffs 
who guarded every waggon, each of them powerful enough 
to subdue a bear or a lion ; the apes mounted on every 
sumpter-horse ; the grooms riding " in English fashion " 
(a peculiarity of which unhappily no explanation is 
vouchsafed) ; the prodigious apparatus of plate, chapel- 
furniture, cooking-utensils, and bedding; the goodly 
iron-hooped barrels of ale, pure, sparkling, delicious, 
and wholesome fitted at once to charm the palate of 
every Frenchman who should taste it, and to fill him with 
admiring envy of the islanders who could brew such 
exquisite potions ; a the huge chests of money, books, 
clothing, and provisions altogether formed such a sight 
as had never before been seen along the road. From 
castles and from cottages, from hamlets and from cities, 
crowds of astonished natives rushed forth, with shoulders 
shrugged, hands uplifted, and eyes distended in blank 
amazement asking, as well they might, with strange 
French exclamations, who might be the chief of all this 
marvellous procession ; and on hearing that it was the 
King of England's chancellor, they were lost in specu- 

* " Duse bigse solam cerevisiam j fsecatum, colore vineo, sapore 
traliebant, factam in aquae de- j meliori " (197). Kobert of Mont 
coctione ex adipe frumenti, in j St. Michel mentions it as a thing 
cadis ferratis, donandam Francis, j unheard of, that in 1152, after two 
id genus liquidi plasmatis mi- bad vintages, beer and mead were 
rantibus, potum sane salubrem, de- | sold in France. Patrol, clx. 470. 


lation as to what the master must be if the officer's equi- 
page were so magnificent.* 

The envoy's behaviour at Paris was in keeping with 
the grandeur of his preparations. King Louis, whose 
custom it was to pay all the expenses of ambassadors, 
had ordered the inhabitants of his capital to sell no pro- 
visions to the Englishmen ; but Becket was aware of 
this beforehand, and had sent out disguised purveyors, 
who bought up enormous quantities in the towns and 
villages around ; so that, on arriving at his lodgings in 
the Temple, he found them stored, at his own cost, with 
three days' supplies for a thousand men. All Paris was 
astonished by the sumptuousness of his table ; a dish of 
eels, which cost a hundred shillings " sterlingorum," 
was long after especially famous in the history of gas- 
tronomy. 1 ' He distributed presents with a lavish hand ; 
and feeling, it would seem, the importance of winning 
favour with the literary class, bestowed much both of 
his attention and of his liberality on the professors and 
students of the schools. By these means, we are told, 
he gained unexampled popularity ; and having effected 
the object of his mission, in his return he seized and 
imprisoned a famous robber, who was particularly ob- 
noxious to the King of England. 

A less amicable expedition into France followed 
shortly after. William IX., Duke of Aquitaine, when 
preparing to set out for the first crusade, had pledged 

a Fitzst., 197-8. 

b Lord Lyttelton reckons the 
alleged price of this dish as equal 

to 751. in his own time ; but thinks 
the story incredible (iii. 10). 
c Fitzst., 199. 



the county of Toulouse, which he held in right of his 
wife, to her uncle Raymond V., Count of St. Gilles, whose 
grandson now held possession of it. As many years had 
passed during which the dukes of Aquitaine were in no 
condition to redeem the pledge, Toulouse had come to 
be regarded by the Counts of St. Gilles as their own ; 
but a claim to it had been set up by Louis VII., in 
behalf of his wife Eleanor, the heiress of Aquitaine. 
This claim had now passed to Henry of England, in 
consequence of his having married Eleanor on her being 
divorced by Louis ; and in 1159 he prepared to assert it 
by force of arms. a By the Chancellor's advice an im- 
portant novelty was introduced in levying the troops 
for this expedition the personal service of the King's 
vassals being commuted for a scutage, or rate levied on 
every knight's fee, in order to the payment of mercena- 
ries. 13 Becket equipped and maintained 700 knights 
for the war at his own expense, and to these he after- 
wards added 1200 knights and 4000 infantry. He 
appeared at the head of his troops, in cuirass and helmet, 
led them to the assault or to the sack of towns and 
castles, and, among other acts of prowess, unhorsed in 
single combat a valiant French knight, Engelram de 

Eob. de Monte, A.D. 1159 ; 
Will. Neubrig., ii. 10, and note, 
p. 110; Trivet, 47; Carte, i. 569; 
Lingard, ii. 114 ; Slsmondi, ' Hist. 
des Fran9ais,' v. 256-7, 407 ; Pauli, 
iii. 21. There are considerable dif- 
ferences as to detail. 

b See Pauli, 22-3. Robert of 
Mont St. Michel says that the King 
had recourse to this, " nolens vex- 
are agrarios milites, nee burgen- 
sium nee .rusticorum multitudi- 
nem" (A.D. 1159). 

c Fitzsl, 201. 

A.D. 1159-60. WAR OF TOULOUSE. 35 

Trie, whose steed he carried off as a trophy. Gamier, 
who was to become his biographer in the character of a 
saint, tells us that he had himself often seen him in 
military attire, advancing to charge the French.* 

The expedition failed of its main object. Louis, 
although he had himself formerly urged Eleanor's claim, 
was not disposed to favour it when taken up by the 
powerful rival who had succeeded him in the possession of 
her person and territories ; and Henry, on approaching 
Toulouse, found that the King of France, the suzerain 
of his continental dominions, was within its walls, as the 
ally of the Count of St. Gilles. Although urged by his 
Chancellor to make an assault, which might probably 
have resulted in the capture of Louis, he hesitated, out 
of a scruple as to his feudal duty, and as to the probable 
effects of such an example ; and, after having besieged 
the city from Midsummer to the end of October, he 
withdrew, leaving the Chancellor to garrison Cahors, 
which had been surrendered to him, and to defend his 
other acquisitions in the south of France. b For the part 
which Becket took in this expedition, innumerable pre- 
cedents of dignified ecclesiastics might have been 
pleaded; for not only deacons (as he then was), but 
bishops, and even popes, had led troops to war, and 
some of them had distinguished themselves by their 
personal exploits. Yet it is evident that, besides being 
contrary to a long succession of canons, such acts were 

"E ieo 1 ui sur Franceis plusurs feiz 1 b Fitzst., 200; Kob. de Monte, 
cheualchier.-'-P. 53*. | A D> n59 . S i smondi> v . 410.4. 

D 2 


felt by Becket's contemporaries, even while they ad- 
mired his gallantry, to be inconsistent with his profession 
and position. In his warlike achievements, even more 
than in the pomp and luxury of his peaceful days, it was 
considered that, when he had " put on the chancellor," 
he had " for a time put off the deacon." a 

a Herb., vii. 17. 

A.D. 1161. 



ALTHOUGH Becket's outward life, at least, during his 
tenure of the Chancellorship, was as that of a layman, 
devoted to the enjoyments, the vanities, the pride and 
luxury and ostentation of this world, it is said that 
not only had the general opinion fixed on him as 
likely to be Archbishop of Canterbury,* but Theobald 
himself was desirous to have the Chancellor and Arch- 
deacon for his successor. 1 * And soon after the death of 
Theobald, which took place in April, 1161, it appeared 
that the King's intention had been rightly divined. 
The Chancellor was about to take leave of his master at 
Falaise, with the purpose of proceeding into England 
on political business, when Henry told him that the 
chief object of his journey had not yet been mentioned 
that he was to be Archbishop of Canterbury. It is said 
that Becket drew the King's attention to the gay and 
secular dress which he wore, as a proof of his unfitness 
for the highest spiritual office, and warned him (as 

a " Certe dum magnificus erat 
nugator in curia, dura legis con- 
tempter videbatur et cleri, dum 
scurriles cum potentioribus sec- 
tabatur ineptias, magnus babe- 
batur, clarus (charus?) erat et 

acceptus omnibus, et solus dig- 
nissimus summo pontificatu ab 
universis conclamabatur et sin- 
gulis." Job. Sarisb., Ep. 193. 
b See Appendix III. 




Hildebrand is said in a similar case to have warned 
Henry IV. of Germany ), a that, if he should become 
Archbishop, their friendship must be turned into bitter 
enmity. b It may have been that the smile which 
accompanied the words was intended to counteract their 
effect; 6 at least, it is certain that Henry did not 
understand them seriously, but continued to suppose 
that, in promoting his favourite counsellor, he was 
forwarding his own views of policy as to the affairs of the 
Church. "Kichard," he said to the Chief Justiciary 
De Luci, d who was about to accompany Becket into 
England, " if I were lying dead on my bier, would you 
endeavour that my first-born, Henry, should be raised 
to the kingdom ?" " Certainly," was the answer, " to 
the utmost of my power." " Then," said the King, " I 
wish you to take no less care for the promotion of the 
Chancellor to the see of Canterbury." e We are told, 
however, that Becket himself declared on other occasions 
his unwillingness to undertake the burden of the pri- 
macy. To the prior of Leicester in particular, who 

Bonizo, ap. Oefel. Scriptores 
Rerum Boicarum, 811 ; Card, de 
Aragonia, ap. Mui;ator., iii. 304. 
This story, however, is now gene- 
rally rejected. 

b Herb. vii. 26. 

c Southey, Book of the Church, 
i. 152, ed. 3. 

d For an account of R. de Luci 
see Foss, i. 264. In his own time 
his name was the subject of many 
punning allusions, both friendly 
and the reverse, although no allu- 
sion to Justice Shallow's coat of 

arms occurs among them. Thus, 
one of Becket's partisans, after the 
Justiciary had incurred the enmity 
of the party, calls him " proprii 
nominis inimicus " (S. T. C., iv. 
254) ; and another, " Luscus noster 
cujus et mentis oculum penitus 
excaecavit Deus " (ib. vi. 237). 
On the other hand, his epitaph in 
Lesnes Abbey styled him " Lux 
Luciorum" (Murray's Handb. of 
Kent, 25). 

e Herb. vii. 27. 


had visited him when recovering from an illness, before 
the King's announcement of his choice, he had said that 
he knew three poor priests in England whose promotion 
to the office he would rather desire than his own ; and 
he had expressed the belief that, if he were appointed, 
he must forfeit the favour either of God or of the King. a 
It was only at the urgent and repeated solicitation of 
the pope's legate, Cardinal Henry of Pisa, that he at 
length consented to accept the office.* 1 

After all the struggle which had taken place between 
Henry I. and Anselm, and the seeming victory of the 
ecclesiastical cause, the appointment of English bishops 
had virtually remained in the King's hands, inasmuch 
as his licence was necessary before the clergy proceeded 
to an election, and his approval before the consecration 
of the person elected. 6 At Canterbury, however, where 
the cathedral was connected with a monastery, and the 
monks of Christchurch possessed that privilege of elec- 
tion which elsewhere belonged to a chapter of canons, 
there was a continual struggle for independence both of 
the crown and of the suffragan bishops, who claimed a 
share in the choice of their metropolitan.* 1 In the 

a Fitzst., 193. It is said that mas habeat partes," &c. Pet. Bles. 
the prior rallied him on the incon- Ep. 64 (Patrol, ccvii.). 
sistency of his dress with his eccle- d See Inett, ii. 179 ; Lingard, 
siastical pluralities, and perhaps ii. 311-2. There were then seven- 
this may have suggested Becket's teen bishoprics in England, and four 
answer to the King. in Wales. In eight of the Eng- 

b Koger, 108 ; Joh. Sarisb. in lish cathedrals there were monks ; 
S. T. C., i. 322 ; Anon. Lamb., 78. in eight, secular canons ; in one, 

c " Cum autem juxta regni con- ' canons regular (Bob. de Monte, 
suetudinem [rex] in electionibus Patrol, clx. 471). The right of 
fuciendis potissimas et potentissi- i the bishops to share in the election 




present case it is evident that there was a difficulty in 
winning the consent of the monks, and it is probable 
that some part of the thirteen months during which the 
vacancy lasted may have been spent in secret negotia- 
tions with them. a It was not until May, 1162, that a 
deputation of three bishops, with the Justiciary de Luci, 
and his brother the abbot of Battle, appeared at Can- 
terbury, bearing the King's licence for the election of 
an archbishop, and his recommendation of the Chancellor 
Thomas for the office. b Here, as in many other parts of 
the story, there is a discrepancy between the old biogra- 
phers each of them, apparently, making such a state- 
ment as he conceived to be most for the honour of his 
hero. Thus, while some represent the monks as hesitating 
to elect Becket only because he was not, like former 
archbishops, a monk, and as delighted with the nomina- 
tion of a person otherwise so admirable, 6 we are told by 
others that his character was fully discussed, and that 
his courtly a<nd secular habits were freely handled by 
objectors. d Whether willingly, however, or under the 
terror of the penalties with which the commissioners 
are said to have been armed, 6 the prior and monks of 
Christchurch agreed in choosing the royal nominee, and 
a day was appointed for their attendance at Westminster, 
where the election was to be completed, with the con- 

was cancelled by Innocent III. in 
1206. Kegest. ix. 205 (ib. ccxv.). 

a Grim seems to intimate some- 
thing of this kind by saying that 
the promotion of Becket was de- 
ferred until the King should extort 
[extorqueat] the consent of the 

monks, 13. 

> Gamier, 56 * ; Grim, 13. 

c Koger, 106. 

d Anon. Lamb., 76 ; Herb., vii. 

e Foliot, Ep. 194, p. 268. 

L.D. 1162. 



currence of the bishops and nobles, in the presence of 
the young Prince Henry, to whom an oath of fealty had 
lately been taken, a and whom his father had appointed 
as his representative for the occasion. b 

The election at Westminster was unanimous, but not 
without some previous show of opposition from a person- 
age who will be often mentioned in the sequel Gilbert 
Foliot. Foliot was of a Norman family which had been 
settled in England from the Conquest ; he was related 
to the Earls of Hereford, and it appears that some of 
his connexions were among the Normans who had ac- 
quired estates in Scotia nd. d He had been educated in 
the great monastery of Cluny, and, after having held 
the priory of that house, had been successively prior of 
Abbeville and abbot of Gloucester. 6 In 1147 he was 
raised to the bishopric of Hereford, from which, a few 
months after the beginning of Becket's archiepiscopate, 
he was translated to London/ Among all the clergy of 
the English Church Foliot had obtained the greatest 
reputation and influence. His fame for learning and 
eloquence was very high, and perhaps he was yet more 
admired for his sanctity/ We are told that he " never 
tasted meat or wine ;" that he increased his austerities 
in proportion as he rose to more eminent station ; and 
there is a letter from Alexander III., 1 in which the Pope 
entreats him to moderate a rigour which, by weakening 

8 Aelred. A.D. 1162. 

b Garnier, 57* ; Eoger, 106. 

c Gervase, 1378 ; Carte, i. 566. 

d See Fol., Ep. 278. 

e Ib.Ep.269. There is a letter of 
outrageous adulation to him from 
the abbot of Cluny. Ib. Ep. 479. 

f Diceto, 535. See Appendix 
IV. V. 

s Anon. Lambeth., 91. He is 
styled by Mapes, " Vir morum et 
sapientise thesaurus." De Nugis 
Curialium, 153 (published by the 
Camden Society). 



his health, might do serious injury to the Church.* Mr. 
Froude describes him as the chief of the "religionist 
party " b the party which founded its claims to influence 
on the practice of such religion as was in those days most 
in fashion with the multitude ; but it seems as if, in the 
description of this party, there were certain elements 
derived from the nineteenth century, which tend to 
give an untrue impression as to Foliot's character. The 
chief value of Dr. Giles's large addition to Foliot's 
published letters is that they help us to understand the 
writer better as accumulated letters must do, however 
unimportant in other respects. He appears in them as 
a very busy man ; extremely desirous of influence, and 
somewhat fond of meddling in the affairs of his neigh- 
bours ; not altogether above an occasional job ; a skilful 
flatterer of persons in high station, and especially 
adroit in giving his flattery a spiritual turn; well- 
meaning in the main, but too much addicted to schem- 
ing and trickery. He writes with a continual plausibility, 
and with a sonorous redundancy of words, which force 
on us the suspicion that he is a man not to be trusted ; 
and with all his virtues, talents, activity, and influence, 
it would appear that he was not trusted. We cannot 
bring ourselves to agree in Archdeacon Churton's esti- 
mate of him as " a wise and moderate man, who acted in 

* S. T. C., vi. 87 ; cf. Koger, 107 ; 
Fitzst. 202. 

b P. 38. Dr. Pauli pronounces 
this to be certainly a correct view 
(35) ; but perhaps the learned 
German historian has not alto- 

gether understood Mr. Froude's Cluny. 

c Mr. Froude speaks of the 
Cistercians as the strength of the 
religionist party (38, 48) ; but the 
Cistercians were in constant con- 
nexion with Becket ; and Foliot 
belonged to the rival order of 

A.D. 1162. 



honest prudence ;" a rather it seems to us that the main 
defect in his character was a want of straightforward 
honesty, and that, if his honesty had been greater, his 
prudence would really have been greater also. b 

Although it is certain that Foliot objected to the 
election of Becket, the circumstances are variously 
stated. By his enemies his opposition is ascribed to 
envy, and he is represented as wishing to get the arch- 
bishopric for himself. But this imputation he very 
strongly denies in a letter addressed to Becket at a later 
time. If, he argues, he had sought the office, the most 
important person to be gained was the Chancellor, the 
King's chief counsellor and favourite ; and he appeals 
to the Archbishop whether any application had eve- 
been made for his interest as chancellor. 1 He declares 

8 ' Early English Church,' first 
edit., p. 349. 

b Fitzstephen says that he was 
in the habit of varying the names 
of the persons specified in bidding 
of prayer (king, prince, arch- 
bishop, &c.), according to the state 
of the political wind (251). Gar- 
nier says of him, 
" De lettres sout assez, et servit Astarot." 

This rhyme on his name seems to 
allude to the story that one night, 
as he was meditating the confusion 
of Thomas, " he heard an exceed- 
ing terrible voice, uttered from 
above, clearly saying to him, 

" Gilberte Foliot, 
Dum revolvis tot et tot, 
Deus tuus est Astaroth." 

.R. Wendover, ii. 323. 

The Bishop, however, is said to 
have answered, "Mentiris, dae- 
mon ; Deus meus est Deus Sa- 
baoth," (Coxe, n. in loc.) 

Another version is 
" Tace, daemon ; qui est Deus 
Sabaoth, est Ille meus." 

Peacock's ' Crotchet Castle.' 

c Thorn.. Ep. 130, p. 287 ; Joh. 
Sarisb., Ep. 183, col. 183 ; Fitzst., 
202. The charge was renewed on 
the vacancy after Becket's death, 
and was then again denied with 
much protestation by Foliot (Ep. 

d It need hardly be observed 
that this argument was not worth 
much in a case where the Chan- 
cellor himself was the rival marked 
out by public rumour. 




the only reasons for his opposition to have been a desire 
of the Church's welfare, and a wish that her rights 
should not be violated by the intrusion of a person so 
notoriously unfit as the King's nominee. And, while the 
withdrawal of his objections is ascribed by his enemies 
to chagrin at finding that the baseness of his motives 
was generally seen through, and that therefore no one 
would second him, his own statement is very different 
that he yielded to nothing less than a threat of banish- 
ment against himself and all his kindred.* 

It is said by John of Salisbury, that Foliot was the 
only person who did not express pleasure at the nomi- 
nation ; but that, when shamed out of his opposition, 
he was one of the first to vote for Becket, and the 
loudest in praise of the choice, b although, according to 
Eitzstephen, he afterwards sarcastically observed that 
the King had wrought a miracle in turning a soldier 
into an archbishop. We may observe that, even if all 
these stories are true, Foliot's insincerity cannot have 
been greater than that which prompted the Archbishop 
soon after to promote the translation of one whom 
he knew to be a thorough intriguer from Hereford to 
London, and to address to him two exceedingly flatter- 
ing letters on the occasion.* 1 And we may add, that 

a " Exilio crudeliter addict! 
sumus, nee solum persona nostra, 
sed et domus patris mei, et con- 
junctu nobis affinitas, et cogna- 
tio tota." (Ep. 194, p. 268.) See 
Appendix VI. 

b Ep. 183 : cf. Fronde, 592. 

c Fitzst, 202. 

d Epp. 128-9 ; Gervase, 1381. On 

Becket's patronage of Foliot see 
Buss, 242 4. The Lambeth bio- 
grapher says that the King pro- 
moted him, and obtained the 
Pope's consent to his translation 
(Alex. III. in Pol., Ep. 146), by 
way of compensation for his dis- 
appointment as to the primacy 
(ii. 91). Fitzstephen tells us that, 



the tone in which Becket's elevation is spoken of by 
his partisans in different parts of their narratives is not 
very consistent. Foliot's opposition may, indeed, have 
arisen from bad and selfish feelings ; but surely there 
might have been an opposition free from all evil motive, 
and in no way deserving of infamy; since any one who, 
on the ground of the candidate's previous character, and 
of the manner in which the election was controlled, 
should have set himself against (what is said to have 
been) the universal acclamation in its favour, would 
have been afterwards justified by Becket himself, when 
he spoke of his troubles as judgments on the irregularity 
of his election, and (according to the common belief) 
even resigned his archbishopric into the hands of the 
Pope, as an office to which he had been unworthily and 
unlawfully appointed. 

After the election had been completed, Henry, Bishop 
of Winchester, the most eminent in dignity of the 
Bishops, addressed Prince Henry in the name of his 
brethren, requesting that the Archbishop-elect might 
be discharged from all obligations contracted in his 
secular office ; and the Prince, in his father's name, con- 
sented.* We shall see hereafter that the validity and 
the extent of this release became subjects of dispute 
between Becket and the King. 

On the way to Canterbury, where his consecration 
was to be performed, the Archbishop-elect had a vision, 

" sicut putabatur," the Bang's ob- 
ject was to have Foliot nearer to 
him as an ally against the Arch- 
bishop (216) ; but this is merely 

an inference from the event. 

Grim, 15 ; Roger, 107-8 ; 
Garn., 58*. 




in which a venerable person appeared to entrust to him 
ten talents ; and in consequence of the feeling of re- 
sponsibility which this vision produced, he charged some 
of his clerks to report to him what men should say of 
him, and to admonish him of any faults which he might 
commit in the administration of his office. a In one, at 
least, of these monitors, the biographer Herbert of 
Bosham, he had made choice of a person who was not 
likely to trouble him with frequent expostulations. 

With respect to the right of taking the chief part in 
the consecration, a conflict of pretensions arose one of 
those continually-occurring disputes which amuse the 
student of mediaeval history by their ludicrous contrast 
with the assumption that the ecclesiastical machinery of 
the middle ages was perfectly adjusted in all its parts, 
and wrought with unfailing smoothness. Koger of York 
had sent representatives to claim the office for him, and 
the suffragans of Canterbury were willing to admit the 
claim, as sanctioned by usage, if Koger would restore 
the canonical subjection which he had withdrawn from 
their Metropolitan ; but this was a condition to which 
it was certain that the contentious northern Primate 
would not submit. Henry of Winchester (who, on the 
death of his brother Stephen, had retired to Cluny, but 
had lately returned after an absence of seven years) b 
claimed the function, as precentor of the province, and 
entitled to represent the provincial dean, the Bishop of 
London, during the vacancy of that see. Walter of 

Herb., vii. 31 ; Gervase, 1382. 

b Pauli, iii. 6, 31. There are 

letters of Theobald, urging his re- 

turn (Joh. Sarisb., Epp. 98, 99, 

A.D. 1162. 



Bochester asserted similar pretensions as provincial 
chaplain of the Archbishop ; while it is said that a Welsh 
bishop also put in a claim, on the ground of seniority in 
the episcopate. 91 After much discussion the question was 
decided in favour of the Bishop of Winchester, whose 
pretensions were supported by a letter from the London 
clergy ; and the Bishop of Kochester was obliged to con- 
tent himself with officiating at the ordination of the 
Archbishop-elect to the priesthood. This took place on 
Saturday in Whitsun-week, and on the following day 
(which from that date was celebrated in England as 
Trinity Sunday ) b Becket was consecrated as Archbishop 
by the Bishop of Winchester, with thirteen other*bishops. c 
One more form yet remained that of obtaining the 
pall, which was the special emblem of a Metropolitan's 
connexion with the Koman see. For this purpose Adam, 
abbot of Evesham, John of Salisbury, and another clerk, 
were despatched to Pope Alexander III., whom they 
found lately arrived at Montpellier, as a fugitive from 
the factions of his city, and from the strength of a rival 
supported by the Emperor. d The cardinals of his court, 
in several interviews, insisted on gifts for themselves 

So Gervase states (1382) ; but 
what Welsh bishop could have 
made such a claim? The Bishop 
of Winchester, consecrated in 
1129, appears to have been the 
senior of his order. The Welsh 
prelates present were those of St. 
David's, Llandaff, and "Gode- 
fridus Lanelvensis," i. e., Geoffrey 
of Monmouth, bishop of Llanelly 
or St. Asaph. 

b Steph. Birchington, in Whar- 
ton, Ang. Sac., i. 8. See Mr. 
Griffiths' note in the late Oxford 
edition of Inett, ii. 303. 

c Gervase, 1382-3 ; Herb., 33 ; 
Aelred, 533. 

d Alexander was at Montpellier 
from April 15 to the month of 
July. See Jaffe, ' Begesta Ponti- 




and the Pope as a necessary condition of the pall,' more 
especially, they urged, as they had been driven from 
Home, and were deprived of their revenues. To this 
the envoys replied that they themselves had come from 
a distant country, and had spent almost all their money ; 
that they wished to receive the pall " holily and purely," 
so as to exclude all pretence for any charge of 
simony; and, on being admitted to an audience of 
Alexander, the abbot of Evesham stoutly repeated this 
declaration. The Pope was found more reasonable than 
his cardinals, and the envoys returned with the pall, 
which their master received with the greatest reverence, 
going forth barefooted to meet them, and prostrating 
himself before the mystic symbol of his new dignity.* 

The promotion of Becket to the archbishopric was 
followed, as every reader knows, by a change in his 
manner of life ; but there are questions as to the nature 
of this change : What was its extent, and how was it 
managed? It is commonly supposed to have been 
something extremely sudden, violent, and conspicuous ; 
that Becket had hitherto been altogether a man of the 
world in appearance, and now all at once threw himself 
into a course of ostentatious asceticism. The late apo- 
logists, on the other hand, endeavour to prove that this 
is an exaggeration in both ways ; that, while Chan- 
cellor, he showed a becoming sense of his duties as an 

Gamier, 60*-1* ; Fitzst. (202), 
who gives an interpretation of its 
mysteries : " Duse linese propen- 
dentes sunt duse leges," &c. 

" Einsi i vint Thomas senz dun e senz 

pechie ; 
Ni ad pur ceo denier ne or ne argent 

Essample i deiuent prendre li successur 

del sid." Gamier, 61. 

A.D. 1162. 



ecclesiastic, and his life was pure to a degree then un- 
usual ; that the alteration of his habits was gradual, 
and was carefully guarded from everything that might 
savour of ostentation. 

The scorn and indignation bestowed by these apo- 
logists on the writers who have chimed in with the 
popular belief and have assisted in propagating it, 
appear to us somewhat unfair. . For the Becket of the 
popular belief whether true or false is in this respect 
no invention of Fox, or Lyttelton, or Hume, or Pin- 
nock's ' Catechism,' or Exeter Hall. He is a tradition 
derived from his admirers of the days before the 
Keformation, and it is on them that the falsification of 
his character if such falsification there has been 
ought, in all reason and justice, to be charged. With 
them originated not only that idea as to the fashion of 
their hero's sanctity which is so offensive to Protestant 
tastes, but the representation of his change as startling 
and abrupt ; for it is not among Protestants only that 
the most violent " conversion " is most congenial to the 
spirit of vulgar religionism. Even in the contemporary 
biographers and panegyrists there is language which 
might seem to intimate such a change,* although their 
more particular details may serve to correct our interpre- 

a E. g. : Job. Sarisb. in S. T. C., i. 
323. " Consecratus autem, statim 
veterem exuit hominem, cilicium et 
monachum induit." Will. Cant., ib. 
ii. 5. " Tanquam jam transforma- 
tus in virum alterum." Herb., ib. vii. 
38. " Tanquam veteris hominis 
indurnento rejecta" purpura, sicut 
corpore e*t niente exivit aulam, 

exuit purpuram, et cilicium induit, 
novum novi hominis habitum," &c. 
(The accusative after exeo is usual 
in mediaeval Latin : indeed it is not 
without classical examples. See 
Facciolati. But Dr. Giles seems to 
be wrong in reading exivit twice.) 
Of. Grim, 16, 18-9, and other bio- 





tation of it. But when Thomas of Canterbury was raised 
to the rank of a saint, he became, according to the 
principles of those days, a subject on which the fancy 
might piously expatiate without regard to the actual 
facts of his story. a Imaginary adventures were then 
ascribed to him nay, as we have seen, even his birth, 
like that of some old heathen demigod, had a romantic 
fable connected with it. The accounts of his life were 
embellished with a profusion of miracles, his character 
was idealised at will, and that which is now treated by 
some as a slander of his enemies was, in truth, the 
expression of the reverence of his devotees. It was his 
admirers even his contemporary admirers who dwelt 
on the particulars of his mortifications, without marking 
the process by which he may have gradually increased 
them. It was they who insisted on the frequent dis- 
cipline, on the shirt of hair, with its verminous popu- 
lation, hourly inflicting on the saint a torment in 
comparison of which the sufferings of his martyrdom 
were but a trifle. b The suddenness of his change was 

* " Je dirai en passant," says 
Bayle, "que les fictions des anciens 
seraient un peu plus supportables 
qu'elles ne le sont s'ils s'etaient 
donne la peine de ne pas tant se 
contredire les uns les autres ; mais 
il parait qu'ils ont regarde leur 
histoire fabuleuse comme un pays 
oii cliacun faisait ce qu'il lui 
plaisait, sans dependance d'au- 
trui" (Art. Achille, p. 159, ed. 
Paris, 1820) . This is spoken of the 
Pagan mythology, but is equally 
applicable to the subject before us. 

b " Cilicium sic bestiunculis 
obsitum ut levius isto pristinae 
diei [i.e. the day of the murder] 
martyrium quivis judicaret, et 
hostes majores minoribus minus 
nocuisse " (Grim, 82 ; cf. Gamier, 
102, 156; Fitzst, 203). Mr. 
Froude, who had before him no 
other early authority for the ver- 
min than Fitzstephen, declares 
that he " sees no adequate proof" 
of it (564). But even if Fitzstephen 
were a false witness, and unsup- 
ported by others, the fact is not to 

A . D . H62. CHANGE OF LIFE. 51 

even enshrined as a glorious fact in narratives which 
became a part of the service of the Church. a In short, 
the ostentation of his severities is the only part of the 
prevailing idea which is to be referred to the moderns 
as its authors ; and this is rather an inference (surely of 
a very colourable kind) than an invention. 

The popular notion, however, is considerably wrong. 
What Becket's more private habits had been in the 
days of his Chancellorship, we cannot very positively 
say. He was, we are told (and we may easily believe 
it), munificent in his almsgiving, as in his other ex- 
penditure^ His chastity has been impeached, but (the 
biographers assure us) unjustly, and various stories are 
told in his purgation. 6 As to this, indeed, it would 
seem, from the statement of one friend, that the most 
secular period of his life, the Chancellorship, was more 
blameless than some earlier portions of it ; d and it is 
said that, in the time of his splendour, he was in the 
habit of subjecting himself to constant bodily discipline, 
Fitzstephen, for our conviction on this point, favouring 

be slurred over that Becket's eon- j in 1604, is, with the exception 
temporaries dwelt on this as a of some additions, identical with 
token of his sanctity. the Sarum Lessons. In another 

a Thus in a Lesson of the Sarum . " Passion " we have the words 
Breviary, it was said " Consecra- | which have been quoted in the 
tus, repente.mutatus est in alium preceding note from Grim (S. T. 
virum. Cilicium clam induit," &c. C., ii. 160). 
(fol. xxxv., ed. Paris, 1533). Dr. j b Roger, 103; Gamier, 51*. 
Giles (S. T. C., ii. 9) and Mr. i c Grim, 13 ; Koger, 104 ; Fitzst., 
Buss (xx.) are not aware that i 189 ; Joh. Sarisb. in S. T. C., i. 
a "Passion," which they suppose ; 320 ; Gamier, 52*. 
to have been first printed at Mentz d Fitzst., 189. 

E 2 


us with the very names of the flagellators both at 
London and at Canterbury.* 

The Archbishop's life, however, was to be stricter 
than the Chancellor's. It is, indeed, a mistake to sup- 
pose that he renounced all outward pomp ; and when 
M. Thierry tells us that within a few days after his 
consecration he had "stripped off his rich attire, dis- 
furnished his sumptuous palace, broken with his noble 
familiars, and allied himself with the poor, the beggars, 
and the Saxons"* the misstatement in favour of the 
writer's theory is altogether ludicrous. What palace 
was it that Becket unfurnished? We may presume 
that his change of office involved a removal, and that 
he may have taken his furniture with him ; but if the 
meaning be that the archiepiscopal residence was in his 
time worse furnished or worse appointed than it had 
been during Theobald's primacy (which is the only 
meaning that would be relevant), we are amply assured 
of the contrary that Thomas was more splendid in his 
establishment than any former archbishop ; and while 
it is true that he paid especial attention to the poor, 
and that twenty-six of this class daily fed in his hall, 
the remainder of M. Thierry's statement appears to be 
pure invention. The Archbishop was, indeed, soon in- 
volved in quarrels with various nobles ; yet this was not 
from any enmity of Saxon against Norman, or of one 
class against another, but because these nobles, indi- 

* S. T. C., i. 190. f c Koger, 111 ; Job. Sarisb. in 

b iii. 109. 1 S. T. C., i. 324 ; Anon. Lamb., 81. 

A.D. 1162. 



vidually, interfered with what he regarded as the rights 
of his see ; and the mention of Saxons is here, as in 
many other passages of the French historian, a merely 
gratuitous insertion. 

Herbert of Bosham describes the order of the Arch- 
bishop's hall. Near him, on his right, sat his clerks, who 
were generally selected for their learning ; on the left sat 
monks ; at some distance were placed the knights or 
other laymen, that their untaught ears might not be 
annoyed by the sound of the Latin books which were 
read aloud for the edification of the clergy . a Clerical 
guests were honourably entertained ; but with the ex- 
ception of such as the Archbishop desired especially to 
honour, they were not admitted to sit with the " eruditi." 
Throughout the time of dinner the Archbishop con- 
tinually had his eyes on all, and, if any one were placed 
too low, made up for the mistake by sending him portions 
of delicate food or drink from his own table. b Gold and 
silver plate adorned the board ; the provisions were plen- 
tiful, and of the best quality ; c and so far was the Arch- 
bishop from limiting his company to beggars and Saxons, d 
that his enemies accused him of having about him 
" not men of religion (i. e. monks), but lettered nobles." e 

a Herb, in Quadril., 24. (Dr. 
Giles's MS. is defective here.) See 
Mapes, de Nugis Curialium, 41. 

b Herb, in S. T. C., vii. 63, 71. 

c Roger, 111 ; Job.. Sarisb. in 
S. T. C., i. 324. 

d " C'etait pour eux settlement 
que sa salle de festin etait ouverte, 
et son argent prodigue," says 
Thierry, iii. 109. 

e " Non religiosos, sed literatos 
nobiles." Nic. de Monte Rotho- 
mag. (master of a hospital at Mont 
St. Jacques, near Rouen ; see 'Hist. 
Litt. de la France,' xiii. 393-5) ap. 
Thorn. Epp. ii. 188. Mr. Froude 
rather strangely renders this, " not 
persons remarkable for their relL 
gion, but for their intellectual rank" 
(132). In opposition to this charge 




" All the gifts of grace in him," says Grim, " were so 
veiled by outward pride, that, even when he was Arch- 
bishop, one would have supposed him a man who lived 
for nothing but the pomp of this world." a 

His own habits were now severe : he slept little, and 
ate sparingly. As to his drink, some biographers tell us 
that it was water in which fennel had been boiled to 
render it unpalatable, b while others state that the cold- 
ness of his stomach rendered him unable to endure 
water, but that, " according to the admonition of the 
master and physician to his disciple " (1 Tim. v. 23), he 
drank wine in extremely small quantity ; c and we see no 
reason (except, indeed, the general untruthfulness of the 
early biographers) to doubt that his use of the cilice 
dated from the beginning of his archiepiscopate. His 
liberality in almsgiving is much insisted on by his con- 
temporaries : Theobald, it is said, doubled the regular 
alms of his predecessors, and Thomas doubled Theo- 
bald's. d When, however, it is stated, after much detail, 

we are told by John of Salisbury, 
" Keligiosos viros tanta reverentia 
excipiebat, ut credi posset se in eis 
divinam praesentiam ant angelos 
venerari " (S. T. C., i. 324) ; and 
monks are mentioned among those 
who daily fed at his table (see Her- 
bert, as cited in p. 53 ; also Fitzst., 
204) ; but at least M. Thierry's 
statement is ridiculously incorrect. 

a 13. Dr. Giles reads accitasse, 
which, as the word is unknown, I 
have translated as if it were ex- 

b Fitzst., 203. Some say fcenum 
instead of fceniculum hay, instead 

of fennel. 

<= Gamier, 102 ; Herbert, 70. 
Gamier tells us that, " pur le freit 
ventrail," he also " gengibre e 
girofre a puignies mangeit." " In 
cibis et potibus," says John of 
Salisbury, "medium tenuit, ne 
prorsus abstinens argueretur su- 
perstitionis, aut immodice sumens 
crapula gravaretur " (S. T. C., i. 

d Theobald's immediate prede- 
cessor, William of Corboil, was 
noted for his love of money. See 
the 'Gesta Stephani,' ed. Sewell 
(Eng. Hist. Soc.), p. 6. 

A.D. 1162. 



that a tenth of his income sufficed for this quadrupled 
almsgiving,* we cannot help drawing some inferences 
not quite consistent with that idea of mediaeval charity 
which is now generally current to the disparagement of 
our own. 

Kising at cock-crow, the Archbishop employed the 
beginning of his day in chanting the appropriate office : 
he confessed his sins, and received a flagellation, which 
was repeated thrice or oftener during the day. b He 
then gave some time to the study of Scripture, in com- 
pany with Herbert or some other one of his clerks ; c 
after which he shut himself up from all access until nine 
o'clock, when he proceeded to hear or celebrate mass. 
Unlike some priests, who, according to Herbert, thought 
to show their piety by lengthening out this service, he 
was rapid in his celebration, in proportion to the eager- 
ness of his devotion ; and such was his emotion that he 
wept and sighed profusely, as if the very sacrifice of the 
cross were before his eyes. d After leaving the chapel 
he took his seat in his court, where he astonished the 
suitors by refusing all presents except such as he could 
not with decency decline ; e and in judicial or other busi- 
ness the remaining hours of the forenoon were em- 
ployed ; f while throughout the day all the time which 

a Buss says, " wozu er alle seine 
Zehnten verwandte " (187), as if 
he gave, not a tenth of his income, 
but all that he received from tithes 
(which would probably have been 
more) ; and Mr. Morris (68) makes 
the same statement ; but, although 
Roger (110) seems to countenance 
this, Fitzstephen (S. T. C., i. 204), 

John of Salisbury (ib. 324), and 
the Lambeth biographer (ib. ii. 82) 
are clear on the other side. 

b Herb., 43 ; Grim, 63. 

c Herb., 43. 

d Herb., 52 ; Joh. Sarisb., 323. 

e Herb., 53-8. 

f Anon. Lamb., 80. 




could be spared from necessary engagements was given 
up to study, or to conversation with his chaplains. 21 

Much is said (as we have already intimated) of the 
pains which Becket took to conceal his sanctity. Fitz- 
stephen, while he represents him as drinking nothing but 
fennel water, tells us that he put the wine-cup to his lips 
before it was passed round. b The dishes served up to him 
were of the most delicate kind, and his abstinence, in 
order that it might escape notice, was exercised not in 
the matter of quality, but of quantity. Herbert relates a 
story of a stranger monk, who was one day observed to 
smile at the daintiness of his entertainer's food. " If I 
mistake not, brother," said the Archbishop, somewhat 
nettled, "there, is more greediness in your eating of your 
beans than in my eating of this pheasant;" and the 
biographer goes on to say that the monk, although he 
did not care for delicacies, to which he had not been 
accustomed, was noted, during his stay at Canterbury, 
as "in good sooth a greedy devourer of coarser things." c 

A similar concealment w r as practised in the matter of 
dress. " He wished," says Grim, " to avoid men's eyes, 
until the new plant which Divine grace had set in 
his breast should be more deeply rooted, so that it 
need not fear the blasts of the world ; and therefore he 
did not at once change his attire." d It was not until 

a Anon. Lamb., 80. 

b 203. 

c 68. St. Augustine says that 
from the case of Esau's mess of 
pottage we learn " in vescendo, 
non cibi genere sed aviditate im- 

moderata quemque culpandum" 
(De Civ. Dei, xvi. 37). Compare 
the Greek Life of Theodore the 
Studite, ap. Sirmond. Opera, v. 8. 
d 16. 


one of the Canterbury monks had been charged in a 
dream to warn him against retaining a secular dress, 
and until he found that murmurs were excited by his 
wearing it in the choir, that he assumed another habit. a 
" His outward appearance," says Fitzstephen, b " was like 
the multitude, but within all things were otherwise." 
And Herbert tells us that his dress was gay during the 
first year, and afterwards respectable and grave, " so 
that, as one saith, there should neither be an affected 
shabbiness nor an elaborate finery." c Over the cilice 
(which, for the sake of cleanliness/ was changed once in 
forty days) he wore a monastic habit, as head of the 
community of Christchurch and for the sake of likeness 
to his predecessors, who, with very few exceptions, had 
been monks by profession ; e and above this the dress of a 
canon, that he might be in conformity with his clerks. f 

a Gamier, 59; Roger, 110-1. 
b 203 : cf. Job. Sarisb., 323 ; 
Anon. Lamb., 81. 

clxxxviii. 897); Eadmer, Hist. Nov. 
v. (ib., clix. 489); W. Malmesb. 
Gesta Pontif. (ib., clxxix. 1505). 

c " Ita ut nee exquisitse essent | Two of the exceptions were noted 
sordes, nee affectatse delicise " as of evil omen : Elf sin, who is 

(Herb., 41). This comes origin- 
ally from St. Jerome (ad Eustocli. 
Ep. xxii. 37, ed. Vallarsi, " Nee 

said to have been chosen after the 
death of Odo, and to have been 
frozen to death in the Alps when 

aftectatse sordes nee exquisitse j on his way to ask for the pall at 

munditise conveniunt Christiano'') ; 
but Herbert probably got the quo- 
tation through the medium of 
Gratian (Dist., xli. 1), who reads 
delicise, for munditiss, and then him- 
self interchanged the epithets for 
the worse. 

d p ur vers e t pur guur," Gar- 
nier, 103. 

e Gamier, 59-60 ; W. Cant., 5 ; 
Orderic. Vital., xii. 16 (Patrol., 

Rome ; and Stigand, who was ir- 
regularly appointed under Edward 
the Confessor, and deprived after 
the Conquest (Will. Cant., 1. c.). 
Another was William of Corboil, 
as to whose election see Sym. 
Duuelm. A.D. 1123. 

f Fitzst., 203. Fuller speaks of 
his " clothes built three stories 
high." (Ch. Hist. b. iii., p. 312, 
ed. Nichols.) The whole subject 


In almsgiving, too, he is said to have carefully studied 
secrecy. In addition to those deeds of mercy which 
might be done before men without any especial profes- 
sion of sanctity, he had, we are told, thirteen poor men 
daily introduced into his apartment at the hour when 
they were least likely to be observed usually before 
daybreak, immediately after his earliest devotions. He 
washed and kissed their feet, regaled them with a plen- 
tiful meal, at which he himself waited on them, and 
sent them away with a present of four pieces of silver to 
each. a 

We must think that this last part of the story throws 
suspicion on all the rest. The daily taking-in of beggars, 
foot-washing, feeding, and giving of money, could not be 
carried on without becoming known. "The fame of 
them," says Lord Lyttelton, " was increased by the 
affectation of secrecy ;" b and such must have been the 
consequence, whether it were intended or otherwise. 
And in all likelihood some part of the other observances 
must have also got abroad. It might be, indeed, that no 
one but the saint's confessor or his chamberlain saw his 
shirt of hair while he lived ; c but might not whispers of 
it be spread by the one or two persons who were in the 
secret ? Nay, might not credit have been given to him 
for such mortifications out of mere surmise? Other 
saints had been discovered to have practised secret 
austerities : what more probable than that the like should 

of Becket's dress is treated by 
Mr. Morris with an enviable so- 
lemnity, 65. 

a Fitzst., 204 ; Job. Sarisb., 324 ; 

Herb., 43 ; Anon. Lamb., 81. 
b ii. 342. 
c Garnier, 103. 


be assumed, even without any evidence, by a religious 
party as to one whom it was disposed to look up to ? a 

But was the Archbishop in all this acting the part of 
a hypocrite ? We believe nothing of the kind. 

a " Quando in sanctis viris I nolint, cuncta produntur." Sulp. 
latent ista, quserentibus, veliut | Severus, Dial. ii. 1, fin. 




WE have seen that Archbishop Theobald and his 
episcopal advisers, in introducing Becket to the Court 
of Henry, aimed at securing the interest of the Church 
by means of the influence which they expected him to 
acquire over the King ; and some of the biographers tell 
us that he always kept this object in view. They repre- 
sent him, during his Chancellorship, as doing all that 
in prudence he could do to check the tendency to 
aggression and encroachment ; as continually averting 
measures which were intended against the Church, and 
as becoming an unwilling instrument in such measures 
of this kind as he could not prevent, in order that by 
getting the execution of them into his own hands he 
might render them less oppressive to his brethren than 
they would otherwise have been. a But, however this 
may be, it is certain that he showed no outward sign of 
unwillingness to take part in the King's proceedings 
nay, that he was generally regarded as the instigator of 
them. In the war of Toulouse, especially, he was sup- 
posed to have advised the imposition of a peculiarly 

Koger, 101-2 ; Anon. Lambeth., 79 ; Gamier, 53*. 
" Ut furor illorum [Aulicorum] mitescat, dissimulate 

Multa solet, simulat quod sit et ipse furens ; 
Omnibus omnia fit, specie terms induit hostem," &c. 

Job. Sarisb., Entbetic., 1437, seqq. 

A.D. 1162. 



heavy tax on the clergy ; and so secret was the fact of 
his having been really adverse to it, that Foliot after- 
wards charged him with having " plunged a sword into 
the bowels of his mother the Church " by the exaction,* 
and Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter, was not aware 
of the real state of the matter until informed of it by 
John of Salisbury in 1166. b In another case, where the 
abbot of Battle, in reliance on a charter of William the 
Conqueror, denied the jurisdiction of the Bishop of 
Chichester, the Chancellor, in delivering the judgment 
of a great assembly, before which the question was 
tried, had strongly asserted the royal prerogative in 
such matters against the Bishop's references to the 
authority of the Pope. c He had been noted, according 
to John of Salisbury, as a "despiser of the clergy," d 
and such, on the whole, was the character which he 
had established, that Foliot, at his election to the arch- 
bishopric, objected to him as "a persecutor and de- 
stroyer of holy Church;" while the Bishop of Win- 

" Ep. 194, p. 269. 

b Job. Sarisb., Ep. 145. Mr. 
Froude ascribes Becket's conduct 
in tbis affair to the eagerness of 
his character, which disposed him 
to take any means which seemed 
readiest to raise funds for " a war 
which he had begun with suc- 
cess " (579). But this view is un- 
known alike to the assailants and 
to the defenders of the Arch- 
bishop's character in his own age. 
Is there any ground for supposing 
that the exaction was made after 

the beginning of the war ? Lord 
Lytteltonis certainly wrong (ii.137) 
in supposing a letter of Theobald 
(Ep. Job. Sarisb., 49) to relate to 
this matter, and to be a censure on 
Becket. See Lappenberg in Pauli, 
iii. 22-3 ; and for Theobald's rela- 
tions with Becket, Job. Sarisb., 
Epp. 71, 78. 

c ' Chronicon Monasterii de 
Bello,' published by the ' Anglia 
Christiana ' Society, Lond., 1846, 
pp. 91-2, 98. See Appendix VII. 

d See above, p. 37. 




Chester had only been able to reply by expressing a 
hope that the wolf would be turned into a shepherd of 
Christ's sheep the persecuting Saul into a Paul. a 

In procuring the Chancellor's elevation to the 
primacy, Henry, no doubt, supposed that he should 
continue to find him a ready instrument of his will, 
especially in matters relating to the Church. b Becket 
is said, indeed, as we have seen, to have declared that, 
if the promotion should take place, his friendship with 
the King would be changed into hostility; but it is 
certain that, whether from the manner in which the 
words were spoken, or from whatever other reason, 
Henry did not believe them, and went on without any 
apprehension to carry through the promotion of his 
favourite. His surprise, therefore, was great at receiving 
from the new Archbishop a request that he would pro- 
vide himself with another Chancellor. What was the 
motive of this? The office of Chancellor was not 
regarded as incompatible with that of a bishop, either I 
on account of its nature or on account of the labour) 
attached to it. Bishops and archbishops had held i1 
before, and were to hold it in later times, and the same| 
conjunction of offices was customary in other countries, 

Gamier, 57*. 

b Grim, 13 ; Fitzst, 202. 

" E quida k'l senist [servist ?] partut ses 
volentez." Gamier, 55*. 

c The precise time of this is 
uncertain, but it was very soon 
after the consecration (see Hog. 
Wendover, ii. 293 ; Foss, i. 202 ; 
Pauli, 33) ; although Buss infers 
from William of Canterbury (S. T. 

C., ii. 5) that the interval was 
longer, and Eobert of Gloucester 
represents him as keeping the 
Chancellorship, and continuing 
to enjoy the royal favour, until 

" Lute and lute the contek aros for porg 
manes rizte," 

in the matter of the taillage or 
Danegelt, which will be mentioned 
hereafter (15-7). 


the Archbishops of Mentz and Cologne being at that 
very time, as Henry was aware, Chancellors of Ger- 
many and Italy respectively. 4 The chancellorship 
must, indeed, from a regard to decency, have been 
less splendid and martial in the hands of the Arch- 
bishop than it had been in those of the Archdeacon ; 
but there was nothing in its proper duties which 
might not very well be reconciled with his new- 
functions. And, at least, if the offices were incom- 
patible, the time for declaring them so was ill-chosen, 
unless it were intended to bear a peculiar significance. 
On the one hand, Becket might have stated his con- 
viction before the King had taken the irrevocable step 
of raising him to the primacy ; or, on the other hand, he 
might have waited until he should be able to say from 
sufficient experience that one man could not perform, or 
ought not to combine, the two duties. The resignation 
was, in truth, nothing less than a declaration of what 
M. Michelet styles " the incurable duality of the middle 
ages, distracted between religion and the State." b The 
Archbishop could no longer serve the King as his officer : 
he must take up a position of his own. c Henry could not 

a Diceto, 534. (This and other 
passages are printed by Dr. Giles 
from a MS. in the British Museum, 
without being aware that they 
are from Diceto.) Alexander IIT. 
desired a bishop of Soissoris to re- 
sign the chancellorship of France, 
on the ground that it was incom- 
patible with the care of his diocese 
(Ep. 882, Patrol, cc.) ; but this 
was in 1171, after Becket's death. 

b Hist, de France, iii. 167. 

c Dr. Lingard's remark here is 
hardly in keeping with his usual 
care to abstain from the more 
vulgar sort of fallacies : " A more 
certain path would certainly have 
offered itself to ambition. By con- 
tinuing to natter the King's wishes, 
and by uniting in himself the 
offices of Chancellor and Arch- 
bishop, he might, in all proba- 



but feel that lie was deceived. Not a word had the 
Chancellor breathed as to retiring from his service 
until by the King's earnest exertion he had been seated 
on the throne of Canterbury ; and then all at once the 
" duality " was proclaimed. Becket was no longer the 
servant of the Crown, but purely the representative of 
the Church ; he was independent of the King ; he 
might become his antagonist, and this seemed very like 
a preparation for coming out as such. 

While, however, he was so eager to divest himself of 
the Chancellorship, he was in no hurry to give up 
another preferment which to many eyes appeared less 
reconcilable with his new dignity the archdeaconry of 
his own diocese ; nor was it until after much delay, and 
much urgency on the King's part, that he was persuaded 
to resign it. The panegyrical biographers in general 
omit this passage of the story, and the apologists of our 
own day appear to find it somewhat of a difficulty. 
"This," says Dr. Giles, "is another point of which 
modern historians have availed themselves to malign 
his character ; but the account of it is so meagre that it 
may be difficult to ascribe to the affair its true cha- 
racter." a But why, we may ask, is the account so 
meagre ? And if the reason of this be that the eulo- 
gists of Becket thought it well to suppress all notice of 
the affair, we cannot quite agree with Dr. Giles in 
inferring that therefore the Archbishop's behaviour was 

bility, have ruled without control 
both in Church and State " (ii. 
118). But' ambition is a perverse 

thing ! 

a Life and Letters of Becket, i. 


blameless. The fact may possibly have been, as Arch- 
deacon Churton states in his valuable little work on our 
early Church history, that Becket was actuated solely 
by unwillingness " to appoint a friend of the King's to 
be Archdeacon of Canterbury." a Certain it is that 
Geoffrey Ridel, the person eventually appointed, was a 
friend of Henry, and proved to be an opponent of the 
Archbishop. 15 But we cannot think that Archdeacon 
Churton's is the necessary construction of the passage 
in Diceto, who, without saying anything of Eidel, or 
of the King's wish to recommend him, merely tells us 
that Becket for a time put off his resignation of the 
archdeaconry, and then " at length handed it over, as 
the King desired/' c But, on the other hand, we do not 
believe, with Mr. Sharon Turner, that a love of the 
emoluments attached to the office was his motive, or 
even one of his motives, for wishing to retain it. 

The Archbishop's next acts were of a nature to stir 
up numerous and powerful enemies against him. Many 
of the possessions of his see had been alienated to lay 
hands, and these he determined to resume, in order, 
according to Grim, that he might be able to increase 
his charities/ but more probably with a view of asserting 
the rights of his office to the full extent in which he 
conceived them. The alienation had most likely been 
in many cases wrongful and informal, and, if so, there 
were courts to which an appeal might have been made 

a 1st ed., p. 343. 
b See Appendix VIII. 
e " Transtulit tandem sicut rex 
petiit" (Col. 534). Wendover 

speaks of Eidel as one of Becket'a 
chaplains (" clerico suo "), ii. 

p. 19. 



for redress as Lanfranc had recovered many manors 
for the see from Odo of Bayeux, who had seized them 
as Earl of Kent. a But Becket was at no time fond of 
quiet and tardy measures; he proceeded at once, by 
main force, to oust the farmers and seize the lands, 
declaring that no one had any right to call him to 
account for such acts. b If it be true, as Fitzstephen 
says, that he had fortified himself with the King's per- 
mission before entering on these proceedings, there can 
at least be no doubt that the licence was used in a 
manner which Henry had not anticipated; and there 
was no want of unfriendly whisperers to inflame his 
mind against the Archbishop. It was said that Becket 
had spoken disrespectfully of Henry's youth, levity, and 
violent temper ; that he had boasted of his own ascend- 
ency over the King ; d and all his actions were repre- 
sented in the most invidious light. " The ungodly," 
says John of Salisbury, " strove by their malicious 
interpretations to darken the change which the right 
hand of the Most High had wrought, ascribing it to 
superstition that he led a straiter life. His zeal for 
justice they traduced as cruelty; his care for the 
interests of the Church they attributed to covetousness ; 
his contempt of worldly favour they styled a hunting 
after glory ; his courtly splendour was falsely called 
pride. That he followed the will which had been taught 
him from above, was branded as a mark of arrogance ; 
that in the maintenance of his right he often seemed 

Gervase, 1655. 

b Herb., 85. 

c S. T. C., i. 208. 

d Arnulf. ap. Lupum, Ep. i. 85, 
p. 126 ; Grim, 20. 


to go beyond the bounds of his predecessors, was held 
to be a token of foolhardiness. Nothing could now be 
said or done by him without being perverted by the 
malice of the wicked, insomuch that they even per- 
suaded the King that, if the Archbishop's power should 
go forward, the royal dignity would assuredly be brought 
to nought that, unless he looked to it for himself and 
his heirs, the Crown would be at the disposal of the 
clergy, and kings would reign only so long as the arch- 
bishop should please." a 

At Christmas, 1162, the Archbishop, accompanied by 
Prince Henry, who was still under his charge, went to 
Southampton for the purpose of meeting the King on 
his landing in England. The accounts of their inter- 
view are very contradictory. One of the old writers 
represents Henry's behaviour as extremely cordial ; b 
another speaks of it as showing, by its coolness, that 
the days of Becket's favour were over ; c while a third 
tells us that the King concealed his real feelings towards 
him under a show of great respect and affection.' 1 Nor 
are the moderns better agreed in their accounts of the 
meeting ; for while Dr. Giles assures us that Henry was 
gratified by finding that his nominee was in high 
repute for piety, we are told by M. Thierry that he 
put on an air of contempt " at seeing, in a monk's frock, 
the man whom he had made so much of when attired 
as a Norman courtier, with dagger at his side, plumed 
cap on his head, and shoes with their long points turned 

a S. T. C., i. 376-7: cf. Gerv., 
1670 ; Fitzst., 207-8 ; Anon. Lamb., 

Herb., i. 87. 
Diceto, col. 134. 
Anon. Lamb., 84. 

F 2 


back, like rams* horns." a And the reports of the 
impression which the meeting made on those who 
witnessed it are naturally no less difficult to reconcile. 
But whatever Henry's demeanour at Southampton may 
have been, he still left his heir-apparent in the Arch- 
bishop's hands ; and when Becket, on preparing to set 
out for the Council of Tours, a few months later, 
resigned the charge of his royal pupil, it is said by 
Herbert that he spent some days with the King on 
terms of the most friendly intercourse. b 

At Tours, an assembly of seventeen cardinals, a 
hundred and twenty-four bishops, and four hundred 
and fourteen abbots, met in Whitsun week, 1163, under 
the presidency of Pope Alexander III., to declare in his 
behalf against Cardinal Octavian, who in 1159 had been 
elected in opposition to Alexander, and, under the name 
of Victor IV., was acknowledged as Pope by the Em- 
peror Frederick Barbarossa. Throughout his journey to 
this council the Archbishop of Canterbury was every- 
where received with honours such as were usually paid 
to a sovereign. On the announcement of his approach 
to Tours, a multitude of prelates, clergy, and laity flocked 
forth to meet him. He was received outside the gates 
by all the cardinals except two, whom the Pope retained 
for the sake of form ; and on his entering the palace in 
which Alexander was lodged, the Pope himself, " who 
scarce riseth up to any one," left his private apartment 
and received him in the hall. At the sessions of the 

iii. 110. There is a learned France.' 

history of this fashion as to shoes 
in the Introduction to vol. xvi. of 
the ' Kecueil des Historiens de la 

b Herb., 88. 

c Hardouin, Concilia, VI. ii. 
1596, 1601. 

A.D. 1163. 



council he was placed on the Pope's right hand, so as to 
hold precedence of all other archbishops ; and his lodging 
was thronged by ecclesiastics and nobles eager to pay 
their court to him. a It is said by William of Newburgh b 
that on this occasion he resigned his archbishopric into 
the Pope's hands, on the ground of having been irregu- 
larly advanced to the dignity, and that Alexander gra- 
ciously restored it ; but if such a resignation ever took 
place, it was, as we shall see hereafter, most probably at 
a later time. 

An attempt which the Archbishop made to procure the 
canonization of his predecessor Anselm was but imper- 
fectly successful. d There is a letter of Alexander to him, 
stating that the canonization of Anselm had been de- 
ferred at the council on account of the multitude of 
similar claims, but desiring him to lay the matter before 
the English bishops, and leaving it to their decision. 6 
Perhaps the English bishops were not disposed to proceed 
with the canonization of a prelate whose enrolment in 
the catalogue of saints must at that time have seemed 
less a homage to his unquestionable merits than a con- 
secration of resistance to the temporal power ; or, indeed, 
the troubles which so speedily followed are enough to 
account for the abandonment of the attempt. But, 
from whatever reason, the canonization of Anselm was de- 

Herb., 88-90 ; Hardouin, VI. 
ii. 1601-2 ; Keuter, i. 332. 

b ii. 16. 

c See Baron., 1163, 18 ; Pauli, 
34. Professor Keuter, however, 
believes that such a scene took 
place at Tours (i. 339). 

d It was in support of this that 
John of Salisbury drew up his 
Life of Anselm, abridged from 
Eadmer, and embellished with ad- 
ditional miracles. 

e Alex. ap. Foliot, Ep. 337. 




layed until the reign of Henry VII., when it was decreed 
by Alexander VI., at the instance of Cardinal Morton.* 

Becket returned from Tours with a confirmation of 
the privileges of his see, b and perhaps with a mind 
somewhat inflamed by a discourse in which Arnulf of 
Lisieux had asserted the unity and independence of the 
Church 6 although, in his denunciation of secular 
"tyrants," the politic orator had probably meant only 
to point at the Emperor and his allies, and had certainly 
not intended to endanger his own relations with King 
Henry. But that his later course of proceedings had 
been concerted at Tours with Alexander/ is an idea 
which must seem very improbable, if we consider how 
undesirable any breach with the sovereign of England 
and of half the territory of France must then have 
appeared to an exiled Pope. 

Ever since the Archbishop's elevation, attempts had 
been actively carried on to influence the King against 
him ; and soon after his return from Tours some things 
fell out which might have sufficed to provoke Henry, 
even without any commentary from the whisperers of 
the court. It was apparently about this time that, in 
preaching before the King, he descanted on the " bound- 
less " superiority of ecclesiastical to secular power in a 

a The bull, dated 1494, is in 
Wilkins (iii. 641). Mr. Morris 
(who, by the way, supposes Henry 
the Sixth to have been king in 
1494) tells us that additional ho- 
nours were bestowed on St. Anselm 
in 1720 by Clement XI. " at the 
prayer of King James III." ! (p. 


b Herb., 90. 

c Johnson, Canons, ii. 48, ed. 
Ang. Cath. Lib. The speech may 
be found in the Concilia, or in 
Patrol, cci. 

d As is said by Carte, ii. 579, 
and by Inett, ii. 239. 

A.D. 1163. 



style which not unnaturally startled a prince among 
whose predecessors and relatives the Hildebrandine 
doctrine as to such matters had never found much ac- 
ceptance ; a and the view which the Primate took of his 
own position and of the rights of the clergy was soon 
amply illustrated. Of the cases in which he attempted 
a resumption of property which had belonged to his see, b 
the most remarkable were two connected with grants 
from the Crown. In one of these cases the Archbishop 
claimed the custody of Kochester Castle, on the ground 
that it had been bestowed on one of his predecessors ; c 
in the other he required Koger, Earl of Clare, to do him 
homage for the castle and " lowy " of Tunbridge, although 
the Earl's family had held it of the Crown for almost a 
century, having originally acquired it from the Conqueror 
in exchange for the castle of Brionne, in Normandy. d 

a See Koger, 112 ; Anon. Lamb., 

b Carte supposes that his pro- 
ceedings were grounded on the third 
canon of Tours, which was di- 
rected against the alienation of 
Church property (i. 579) ; but 
the abuses denounced in that 
canon (" Siquis laico in saeculo 
remanenti ecclesiam, decimam, ob- 
lationemve concesserit ") appear to 
be of a different kind from those 
which Becket attacked. 

c By William the Conqueror, 
according to Herbert, 86 ; but 
the grant seems rather to have 
been made by Henry I. in 1126 
(,Flor. Vigorn. Contin., ii. 85). 

d Fitzst., 208; Herb., 86; Di- 
ceto, 536; Gervase, 1384; Wen- 

dover, ii. 298. I have followed 
Diceto and Gervase in placing 
these claims after the Council of 
Tours. It is said that the domain 
round Brionne was measured with 
a rope, and that, the rope being 
brought to England, a like circuit 
was measured with it round Tun- 
bridge (Guil. Gemetic. contin. ap. 
Bouquet, xii. 575). Lowy = leuca 
or leuga, "quae vulgo banleuga, 
dicitur, sive, ut dicam Latinius, 
bannum leugx," says Herbert, 
86. " Leuga, quae vulgo bailie 
vocatur" (Gervas. 1670). See 
Camden's 'Britannia,' transl. by 
Holland, Lond. 1610, p. 350; 
Hasted, 'Hist, of Kent,' ii. 308, 
folio edit. 




These two cases, so curiously contrasted, gave indications 
of an alarming principle, which indeed the Archbishop 
was not unwilling openly to avow. Everything that had 
ever been given to the Church was to be claimed, while 
nothing that had been parted with was to be abandoned ; 
and documents were to be reckoned valid or worthless, 
according as they made for or against the ecclesiastical 
claims. Nobles and knights, nay, the King himself, 
began to feel themselves insecure in their possessions, 
while the chaplains of the court, and other clergy who 
depended on lay patrons, trembled lest they should be 
ejected from their preferments.* 

About the same time a quarrel arose as to the church 
of Eynesford. The Archbishop, considering himself 
entitled to the patronage of all churches situated on 
estates held under his see, presented a clerk named 
Laurence to Eynesford ; whereupon William, the lord of 
the place, " objecting to the right of nomination, ex- 
pelled Laurence's people," b and for this the Archbishop 
excommunicated him. It would seem not only that 
William believed himself to be in the right, but that he 
really was so, as the Church of Canterbury afterwards ac- 
cepted the advowson of Eynesford by way of donation from 
him; c while, even if the Archbishop's title to the patronage 
had been better founded than it appears to have been, it 
had at least been longdormant. d And, lest we should be too 

a Grim, 20. 

b Fitzst., 208 ; Giles, Life and 
Letters,' i. 162-3. See Hasted's 
' Kent,' i. 306. 

c See Gervase, 1675 ; Carte, i. 


d The Archbishops were very 
ready to claim patronage which 
did not belong to them. Thus, 
Fitzstephen, in relating this, says 

A.D. 1164. 



much shocked at the violence of William's proceedings, 
it ought to be remembered that not only were they in 
the usual style of the rough-handed barons of that age, 
but that the Primate himself had just given examples of 
precisely similar violence in cases of disputed possession. 
William was a tenant of the King as well as of the Arch- 
bishop ; and, when excommunicated by one of his feudal 
superiors, he appealed to the other. On this Henry 
ordered Becket to recall his excommunication, reminding 
him that, according to a principle established by William 
the Conqueror,* the tenants-in-chief of the Crown ought 
not to be excommunicated without the Sovereign's leave. b 
The Archbishop for a time stood on his rights, declaring 
that the King had nothing to do with such spiritual 
matters as excommunication or absolution ; and although 
at length, on finding that the King was very angry, he 
agreed to do as was required, the concession was so un- 
gracious that Henry exclaimed, "Now I owe him no 
thanks for it." c 

In another case the Primate appeared as a sort of 
Hampden. The King, in a council at Woodstock, pro- 
posed to add to his revenue certain moneys which had 
been customarily paid to the sheriffs throughout England 

that they were patrons of the 
churches on the estates of their 
monks, as well as of their barons ; 
but in the case of churches founded 
by the monks this was an usurpa- 
tion of Theobald; and although 
Becket, in accordance with his 
usual policy, retained it, his 
successor, Richard, was obliged 

to give it up. See Gervase, 3067, 

a Eadmer, Hist. Novorum, c. 1. 
(Patrol., clix. 352.) 

b Lest, it was said, the King 
should, unawares, communicate 
with excommunicate persons. Di- 
ceto, 536. See Fuller, i. 2G9. 

c Fitzst., 209. 




a sum of two shillings on every hide of land and 
Becket stood forward to resist the proposal.* The money, 
he said, was not paid as a due, but voluntarily ; it might 
be refused if the sheriffs and their officers should behave 
improperly, or should fail to perform their duty in 
the defence and police of the country, and therefore 
must not be reckoned as part of the royal revenue. 
u By God's eyes," said Henry, furiously, " it shall be paid 
as revenue, and registered in the King's books ! " " By 
those same eyes," answered Becket, " so long as I live no 
such payment shall be made from all my lands, and not 
a penny of the Church's right ! " By this opposition the 
project was defeated ; and so, says Grim, the King was 
led, out of resentment on account of the Archbishop's 
behaviour, to turn his anger against the clergy. b 

He was not long without a very fair pretext for inter- 
fering with them. A number of outrages had lately 
been perpetrated by members of the clerical body. It 
was said that more than a hundred murders had been 
committed by clerks since the beginning of Henry's 
reign ; c and, without insisting on the exact statistical 
accuracy of this statement (which Dr. Lingard d thinks 
it worth while to assail), we have abundant evidence that 
the " disorderly manners of men in orders " e " mur- 
derers, thieves, robbers, assassins, and practisers of other 
atrocities " had become a crying nuisance. The eccle- 
siastical tribunals claimed exclusive jurisdiction over the 

See Appendix IX. 
b Grim, 21-2 ; Koger, 113-4 
Gamier, 65* ; W. Cant., 6. 

Will. Neubrig., ii. 16, p. 130. 
ii. 127. 
Grim, 34. 

A.D. 1163. 



clergy in cases of every kind ; and thus these " ton- 
sured a demons, workmen of the devil, clerks in name 
only, but belonging to Satan's portion," were exempted 
from the judgment of the secular courts. The exemption 
extended to the minor orders, and hence there had grown 
up a prodigious multitude of " acephalous " b clerks, 
without title, duty, or settled abode, who led a roving, 
disreputable life, and were ready for any violence. 

The question of the clerical immunities had come 
before Henry immediately after his accession to the 
Crown. Osbert, Archdeacon of York, had been charged 
with having administered poison in the eucharistic cup 
to his Archbishop, William; and King Stephen, not- 
withstanding the strenuous opposition of Archbishop 
Theobald and his brethren, had insisted that a charge of 
such atrocity should be investigated in the secular court. 
Before a trial could take place, however, Stephen was 
succeeded by Henry, whereupon the prelates took ad- 
vantage of the newness of the young King's power to 
wrest the cause out of his hands and assert the right of 
the Church to judge it. The indignation of the King 
and his nobles is described by Theobald himself as ex- 
cessive ; nor was the sequel of the affair likely to mitigate 
it. The accuser was unable to establish the charge 
rather, it would seem, in consequence of the technical 
difficulties interposed by the ecclesiastical law than of 
any substantial defect in his case and the Bishops 

* " Coronatorum," Herb, in 
Quadril., 33. Dr. Giles reads 
" earacterizatorum " \_Qy. " caute- 

rizatorum?"] (Herb., 102.) 

b Literally headless, so called 
as being subject to no superior. 




decided that the accused should submit to canonical 
purgation ; whereupon he declared that he preferred to 
clear himself " in the face of the Koman Church " rather 
than in England.* Such an affair, in which an eccle- 
siastic accused of a very serious crime was not only able 
to withdraw from secular justice, but escaped conviction 
in the spiritual court through the peculiarities of the 
canon law as to evidence, and eventually removed his 
case to the judgment of a foreign potentate, must have 
strongly impressed on Henry's mind the inconvenience 
of the ecclesiastical immunities ; and the impression had 
been deepened by the experience of ten years. He 
wished to put an end to the disgraceful state of things 
which had arisen, by subjecting clerical offenders against 
the public peace to the same jurisdiction with other 
criminals, and, with a view to this, he now required tha 
clerks accused of any outrage b should be tried in his 
own courts ; that, on conviction or confession, they should 
be degraded by the Church, and that they should then 
be remanded to the secular officers for the execution oJ 
the sentence which had been passed on them. On the 
other hand the Archbishop, although unsupported by his 

a Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 122 (written in 
the name of Theobald to the Pope). 
" Rex Henricus successit, de cujus 
manibus, vix cum sumina difficul- 
tate, in manu valida, et cum indig- 
natione regis et omnium procerum, 
jam dictam causam ad examen 
ecclesiasticum revocavimus . . .' . 
cum actor, secundum subtilitatem 
legum et canonum, accusationem 
non posset implere." In another 

letter (108) Theobald writes to 
the Pope : " Osbertus Ebora- 
censis archidiaconus in purgatione 
defecit. Quisquis vobis suggesserit 
aliter, non credatis." 

b " In latrocinio, vel murdra, 
vel felonia, vel iniqua combus- 
tione, vel in his similibus.'' E. 
Hoveden, 282. 

c Fitzsl, 209; Anon. Lamb., 
88 ; Diceto, 537. 

A.D. 1163. 



brethren in general, who dreaded the risk of a breach 
with the State while the Church was divided by a 
schism, 8 considered himself bound to offer the most 
strenuous resistance to a proposal which tended to lessen 
the privileges of the hierarchy ; and on this quarrel the 
whole of the subsequent history turned. 

On the one side it was argued that the ecclesiastical 
discipline had been proved altogether insufficient to 
check the excesses of the clergy; that there was no 
warrant in the Mosaic law for exempting them from the 
punishments to which other men were liable ; that the 
penalties of the spiritual courts were not fitted to deter 
persons inclined to offences of the kind in question. 
" Those," it was said, " would care little for a loss of 
orders" [the heaviest of all the spiritual sentences] 
" whom a regard for their orders could not restrain from 
the commission of such enormities. In proportion to their 
superior dignity and privileges, their criminality was 
greater than that of other men, and their punishment 
ought rather to be heavier than lighter. It would be a 
strange novelty in law, and a very new fashion of sanctity, 
if the privileges of the clergy should thus be made a 
screen for villanies by which the peace of kingdoms is 
disturbed, the justice of kings outraged, and all that is 
holy profaned." b 

The arguments on the other side were of various 

8 Fitzst., 210. William of Can- 
terbury speaks of them as forget- 
ting that they "were set over 
nations and kingdoms, to pluck up 
the plantation of vices " (6) ; a 

strange representation of their de- 
clining to shelter criminals from 
justice ! 

b Herbert, 103-4, 109. 




kinds. No one, it was said, ought to be twice punished 
for the same offence, as clerks would be, if, in addition 
to degradation, they had to undergo the doom of the 
secular court. Clerks degraded for one offence would 
afterwards be in the condition of laymen, and liable to 
the usual punishments of laymen for future misde- 
meanors [so that they had only one life more than 
other men] : but degradation was the utmost that could 
be allowed for one crime, and by a clerk degradation 
must be felt as the heaviest of all punishments a an 
assertion which had of late been abundantly disproved 
by experience. 

There were many references to Scripture, some of 
them strangely unfortunate. Thus the plea against 
visiting an offence with bodily as well as spiritual 
penalties was supported by the supposed authority of 
the prophet Nahum. b The arguments of this kind 
which seem most likely to have been effective were 
some which rested on a restriction to the clergy of words 
which would, in truth, have been equally applicable to 
all Christians as where it was said that it would be 
shocking to touch the life or limbs of those for whom 

Grim, 36 ; Fitzst., 210 ; Will. 
Cant., 12 ; Gamier, 27 ; Herb., vii. 
106, &c. 

b " Dicit enim Naum propheta, 
Non judicabitDeusbisin idipsum." 
There are no such words in 
Nahum, but they may perhaps be 
a reminiscence of i. 9, " Non con- 
surget duplex tribulatio," or of i. 
12, " Afflixi te, et non affligam te 

ultra." In Job xxxiii. 14, we have 
" Semel loquitur Deus, et secuiido 
idipsum non repetit." But I have 
not been able to find the words in 
question, although St. Bernard 
also seems to refer to them as 
Scripture " Deus judicari bis in 
idipsum, quod ipse non facit, pati- 
atur." Ep. cxxvi. 12. 

A.D. 1163. 



Christ had died. a In a like spirit, Becket insisted on 
the profanity of binding behind the back hands which 
had consecrated the Saviour's body b an argument 
which, at best, would not have been available for any 
order below the priesthood, while it overlooked the cir- 
cumstance that the hands in question had not been 
exclusively devoted to sacramental acts, but had been 
the instruments of such crimes as robbery or murder. 

The main strength of the cause was probably sup- 
posed to lie in the department of ecclesiastical law a 
department more beyond the cognizance of ordinary 
persons than either reason or Scripture. We are told, 
however, that, even in that age, the King's demands 
were warranted by the advice of learned canonists and 
jurists ; c and we know (whether the uncritical twelfth 
century knew it or not) that the authorities on which 
the Archbishop relied were in reality altogether futile. 
"Gratian," says Fleury (and we must remember that 
Becket had probably been a hearer of Gratian at Bo- 
logna), " inserted in his * Decretum ' novel maxims 
concerning the immunities of the clergy. In proof of 
this he cites several articles from the False Decretals, d 
and the pretended law of Theodosius, 6 adopted by 

a Grim, 34. 

b Herb., vii. 105. 

c " Quorundam fretus consilio 
utriusque juris sc habere peritiam 
ostentantium." Ib., 103. 

d It may be well to explain to 
some readers that these ' De- 
cretals ' were a great forgery, exe- 
cuted towards the middle of the 

ninth century, by which pretended 
letters of the early bishops of 
Kome were made to countenance 
the advanced pretensions of the 

e Rather read Constantine; for 
the only connexion of the law 
with Theodosius is the circum- 
stance of its appearance in the 




Charlemagne,* "in order to extend excessively the 
j urisdiction of the bishops. With these he combines a 
mutilated article from a novel of Justinian, which, as a 
whole, says the very contrary. b This constitution, how- 
ever, thus altered, was St. Thomas of Canterbury's 
chief ground for resisting the King of England with 
the firmness which drew on him persecution and mar- 
tyrdom." c 

Nothing, as appears to us, can be plainer than that 
the Archbishop's cause was decidedly wrong. d " My 
Lord," he is represented as having told Henry, " the 
Holy Church, who is the mother both of kings and of 
priests, hath two kings, two laws, two jurisdictions, and 
two controlling powers ;" e but his view as to the rights 
and functions of the two respectively shows a great 
encroachment of the spiritual on the secular. The true 
distinction would seem to be that the Church takes 

Theodosian Code (t. vi. p. 303, ed. 
Lugdun. 1665). In this law Con- 
stantine the Great is represented 
as enacting that one party in a 
suit might, without the consent of 
the other, carry it before the 
Bishop at any stage of the pro- 
ceedings. The law is generally 
regarded as spurious ; yet it has 
lately found defenders in Haenel 
and Walter (Kirchenr., 382). 

a See Fleury, xlvi. 8. This is in 
the spurious Capitularies of Bene- 
dict, lib. ii. 366 (Patrol, xcvii. 787). 
See Gieseler, II. i. 79-80 ; Hallam, 
Middle Ages, ed. 8, vol. i. 508, and 
Supplem. Notes, 183. 

b See Appendix X. 

c ' Discours,' at the end of Hist. 
Eccl., liv. Ixiv. (t. v. 5, ed. Paris, 
1844) : cf. liv. Ixxi. 6. 

d William of Newburgh plainly 
says that such was his opinion (ii. 
16, pp. 130-3); nay, even Roger 
of 'Pontigny (129) and Herbert of 
Bosham seem to have thought so, 
notwithstanding their devotion to 
Becket. Herbert does full justice 
to the King's motives. " Nothing 
can be more certain than that each 
had a zeal of God, the one for the 
people, the other for the clergy ; 
but which zeal was according to 
knowledge, it is not for fallible 
man, but for the God of know- 
ledge, to judge " (109). 

e Herb., 104. 


cognizance of misdeeds in their character of offences 
against God, while the State deals with them as offences 
against society. And the penalties inflicted by the two 
judicatures are properly different in their nature and in 
their object : the secular sentence exacting the forfeit 
which is due to society, while the spiritual sentence does 
not indeed pretend to clear the sinner's account with 
God, but aims at disposing him to seek the Divine for- 
giveness by hearty inward penitence. In cases where 
secular law could not reach, or did not care to prose- 
cute, an offence, the ecclesiastical judgment might be 
enough ; but, where secular law put in a claim, the 
Church had no right to bar this claim, inasmuch as the 
offence, under different aspects, was liable to both laws. 
In the times with which we are concerned, the spiritual 
courts had taken it on themselves to inflict such 
penalties as imprisonment in a monastery, banishment 
under the name of pilgrimage, and forfeiture of money 
or other property ; a and when it was objected that these 
punishments were not ecclesiastical but civil, Becket 
replied that the Church represented Him to whom 
the earth and the fulness thereof belong that there 
can be no limits to the punishments of that King whose 
power is infinite. 15 But it seems evident that such pre- 
tensions could not safely be admitted; that bishops 
could have no power to fine, banish, or imprison, except 
by the concession of the State ; and that, although the 

* The Bishops gained largely 
by pecuniary commutations for 
other punishments. See Ep. 346, 

b Herb., 106-7. 


State might allow them to administer such penalties, 
and might for a time be content to leave the clergy 
wholly in the hands of ecclesiastical judges, it was 
entitled to resume its control over them whenever such 
a change might seem expedient. Indeed, no other 
answer is needed to the claims set up by Becket for the 
exemption of the clergy from secular courts than such 
as is furnished by a letter of his immediate successor, 
written at a time when the clergy had begun to feel 
that their immunities were attended by considerable 
inconveniences. For the Church's claim to exclu- 
sive jurisdiction over all cases which concerned the 
clergy, had not only the effect of withdrawing clerical 
robbers and murderers from the secular tribunals, b\ 
also the robbers and murderers of the clergy, so that 
was most signally instanced in Becket's own case) th< 
murderer of an ecclesiastic was subject to no other 
ecclesiastical punishments ; and the effect of this cam< 
to be so seriously felt that Archbishop Kichard en- 
deavoured to procure an alteration in the law. He 
argues that misdeeds ought to be punished in any case. 
" I should be content," he says, " with the sentence of 
excommunication, if it had the effect of striking tern 
into evil-doers ; but, through our sins, it has become 
ineffective and despised. The slayers of a clerk or of a 
bishop are sent to Home by way of penance : they en- 
joy themselves by the way, and return with the Pope's 
full grace, and with increased boldness for the commis- 
sion of crime. The King claims the right of punishing 
such offences ; but we of the clergy damnably reserve 
it to ourselves, and we deserve the consequences of our 



ambition in usurping a jurisdiction with which we have 
no rightful concern. Scripture and the decrees of the 
Church agree that certain enormities ought rather to 
be punished by the judges of this world than by those of 
the Church. If the judgment of the Church be insuffi- 
cient, let the secular sword supply its shortcomings. 
There are two swords which beg each other's aid and 
mutually help each other ; and if one of them supply 
the other's deficiency, this is not to be regarded as a 
double contrition or punishment. It is the public in- 
terest that those should be restrained by the material 
sword who neither fear God, nor defer to the Church, 
nor dread the censure of the canons." a The Arch- 
bishop's argument was intended to protect the clergy 
from violence, but it is evident that it is equally appli- 
cable to the protection of the laity against the violence 
of clergymen. b 

As to the question of Scripture and primitive usage, 
it is manifest that the directions to admonish an offend- 
ing brother, to " hear the Church," to settle differences 
"before the saints, and not before unbelievers," were 

a Trivet, 83-5 ; or Pet. Bles., Ep. 
73. Giraldus abuses Kichard for 
having lowered the Church (Ang. 
Sac., ii. 523). Of. Pet. Bles., Ep. 5. 

b A letter of Eugenius III., on a 
decree passed by a German diet in 
1152, that plunderers of ecclesias- 
tical property should not be ex- 
communicated unless they were 
first convicted by a lay judgment, 
contrasts remarkably with the tone 
of Bucket and his friends. No- 

thing is said as to the iniquity of 
a double judgment ; but the Pope 
declares that, if the decree stand, 
there will be an end of all dis- 
cipline ; with discipline, of religion ; 
and with religion, of salvation. (Ep. 
524, Patrol., clxxx.) Yet the secu- 
lar courts did not attempt in this 
case, as the ecclesiastical courts in 
England did, to arrogate to them- 
selves all jurisdiction and power to 




intended for all Christians, and not for the clergy alone; 
that the last of them was given with reference to the 
peculiar circumstances of a period when the public 
tribunals were heathen, and that such directions have 
nothing to do with the nature or the amount of punish- 
ment for such crimes as robbery and murder. It was, 
therefore, a strange abuse to found on these texts a 
claim of comparative impunity for clerks who should be 
guilty of outrages against person or property. 

The questions of ecclesiastical law in general, of Eo- 
man civil law, and of earlier English law, may be con- 
sidered as decided against the immunities.* In Saxon 
times both clergy and laity had been subject to mixed 
tribunals the archdeacon sitting with the secular judge 
in the court of the hundred, and the bishop with the earl 
in the county-court. b This arrangement had, indeed, 
been abolished by William the Conqueror, who ordered 
that the jurisdictions should be separated. But it would 
seem that, notwithstanding the new law, the separation 

^ See Appendix X. The first 
council of Macon, A.D.581, declared 
the clergy exempt from secular 
judgment, "absque causa crimi- 
nali, id est, homicidio, furto, aut 
maleficio " (Can. 7, ap. Hardouin, 
iii. 452) ; and such was generally 
the limitation of their exemptions. 
See Collier, i. 372, seqq. ; Inett, 
ii. 246 ; Twysden, Histor. Vindi- 
cation, 43, ed. Corrie ; Planck, 
' Gesch. der Christlichen Gesell- 
schaftsverfassung,' i. 172 ; Mar- 
tineau, 330, seqq.; and for the 
Anglo-Saxon laws, Kemble, ' Sax- 

ons in England,' ii. 437. Lobell 
('Gregor. v. Tours,' 325-8) traces 
the growth of exemptions among 
the Franks. Charlemagne ex- 
empted the clergy from secular 
judgment; but this exemption 
was not such as Becket contended 
for, inasmuch as it was a gift be- 
stowed and revocable by the se- 
cular power, and the Emperor was 
supreme judge of clergy as well as 
of laity. See Gieseler, H. i. 77. 

b Phillips, ii. 68. 

c Wilkins, i. 368. See Ap- 
pendix XI. 



of the courts was not generally carried out before the 
latter part of Henry the First's reign. a And in what- 
ever degree the law of William may have contributed 
towards that exemption from secular judgment which 
the clergy had at length all but completely b established 
for themselves during the troubled reign of Stephen, 
Becket is never found to have appealed to it. If, in- 
deed, he had relied on the Conqueror's law, he might 
have been told in answer that experience had abundantly 
proved the necessity of its repeal. But he would have 
scorned such a foundation for his pretensions : he claimed 
the immunities as an inherent right of the clergy. 

The defences which have lately been set up for the 
Archbishop's conduct in this matter vary according to 
the views and position of their ingenious authors, who 
might, perhaps, be safely left to refute each other. By 
some writers the nature of the claim to immunity for the 
clergy is veiled as far as possible by descanting on other 
matters in which the State might have been disposed to 
encroach on the Church. Thus Dr. Lingard endeavours 
to confine our view to the probability that the lay and I 
the spiritual courts were interested in drawing cases;! 
away from each other, for the sake of benefiting by fees. d 

See Inett, ii. 251-2 ; Southey, 
Vind., 35-1 ; comp. Blackstone, iii. 
71, with Lingard, ii. 123. "Of 
clerical exemption from the secular 
arm," says Mr. Hallam, " we find no 
earlier notice than in the corona- 
tion oath of Stephen, which, though 
vaguely expressed, may be con- 
strued to include it.'' (" Ecclesi- 
asticarum personarum et omnium 

clericorum, et rerum eorum, jus- 
titiam et potestatem .... in manu 
episcoporum esse perhibeo et con- 
firmo.") Middle Ages, ii. 21. 
Comp. Martineau, 321. 

b The qualification is introduced 
here on account of the case of 
Osbert (above, p. 75). 

c Southey, Vindicise, 355. 

d ii. 126. 


Another very able member of the Koman communion tells 
us that the immunities of the clergy were right in ages 
when the temporal courts had recourse to wager of battle 
and other ordeals ; but that, since these trials have been 
disused, and since other changes have taken place 
in civil society, they have rightly been everywhere 
abolished a an argument in which it is forgotten that 
Becket claimed the immunities as an absolute right, 
independent of all social considerations. A highly- 
respected writer of our own Church insists on the severity 
of ecclesiastical punishments for example, that some 
clerks were sentenced by the spiritual courts to depri- 
vation of all their dignities, and confinement in a mo- 
nastery for life under a rigid system of penance. b But 
it is clear that this is far from meeting the case. The 
ecclesiastical discipline would seem to have been much 
neglected, and, at all events, it was found insufficient to 
restrain from frequent crime. Whatever it may have 
been, it is certain that it was looked on, both by clergy 
and by laity, as less severe than the secular punishments ; 
and it is certain that it was grievously ineffective. 

We need hardly advert to the fallacy of M. Michelet, 
who tells us that " the ecclesiastical jurisdiction was in 
those days an anchor of safety ;" that " the Church was 
almost the only way by which the despised races of the 
vanquished could recover any degree of ascendency;" 
that " the liberties of the Church were then the liberties 
of the world :" c or to that of Dr. Giles, who endeavours 
to recommend his hero by representing him as a kindred 

Walter, Kirckenr., 399. b Clmrton, 345. c iii. 162. 


spirit to our modern philanthropists and mitigators of the 
criminal code. a Great as were the blessings which the 
Church in the middle ages conferred on mankind by 
acting as a check on the tyranny of the strong, there was 
no attempt in the case before us to exercise any such 
function. It was not for the protection or for the eleva- 
tion of the oppressed Saxons that Becket laboured ; it was 
not to mitigate the barbarous punishments which in that 
age were usual, and perhaps necessary : it was to establish 
for his own class a superiority over all other men. Mr. 
Froude, indeed, is right in denying the truth of the 
opinion which he ascribes to " Protestant historians," 
that " the Archbishop could have been influenced by no 
motive but a wish to secure impunity to offending clergy- 
men ;" b but the real charge against Becket is something 
different from this, namely, that he set up and obsti- 
nately maintained, as a right of the Church, a claim 
which was without any real foundation, and which, in 
its working, had been proved to be seriously hurtful, not 
only to social order, but to the character of the clergy 

There was no pretence that the secular courts them- 
selves in a great measure composed of ecclesiastics 
were likely to deal unfairly with clerks who might 
be accused before them. There was no attempt on 
their part to meddle with matters which were pro- 
perly of spiritual cognizance. Nor was this one of the 
cases in which it is necessary to distinguish between the 
worthlessness of a party and the justice of a principle 

Life and Letters of Becket, i. 18&-7. b P. 17. 




involved in his cause. None but persons duly convicted 
of crime were in danger from Henry's intended reforms. 
The question was simply whether clerks should enjoy a 
comparative impunity for offences against the public 
peace ; and as long as Henry could have any ground for 
saying that the clergy were especially favoured that 
the ecclesiastical discipline failed to restrain them from 
crime so long was there a just reason for complaint on 
the part of the secular power and of the people. 8 

Johnson points out that so 
long as the laity were allowed to 
compound for murder by paying a 
wehrgeld (or pecuniary compensa- 
tion), they had no reason to com- 
plain of the ecclesiastical treat- 

ment of criminal clerks as too 
lenient ; but that a change had 
been made by the introduction of 
capital punishment for lay mur- 
derers, which he refers to the reign 
of Henry I. Canons, ii. 56. 

A.D. 1163. 



OCT. 1163 OCT. 1164. 

THE King summoned the bishops and abbots of the 
realm to meet him at Westminster in October, 1163, 
and laid before them his views as to the necessity of 
reform. Among the subjects of his complaint were the 
proceedings of archdeacons and rural deans, whom he 
accused of extorting a revenue greater than his own by 
oppressive exactions from the clergy and vexatious suits 
against the laity. a But he insisted chiefly on the im- 
munities of the clergy, which he denounced as hindering 
the execution of his coronation oath to do justice and 
to correct offenders ; b and he desired the concurrence 
of the assembled dignitaries in the measures which he 
proposed for the remedy of the prevailing evils, so that 

Anon. Lamb., 88 ; Fitzst., 
213. The complaints against the 
Archdeacons are countenanced by 
a letter of John of Salisbury to 
Nicolas de Sigillo : " Erat, ut me- 
mini, genus hominum qui in 
ecclesia Dei archidiaconorum cen- 
sentur nomine, quibus vestra dis- 
cretio omnem salutis viam quere- 
batur esse prseclusam. Nam, ut 
dicere consuevistis, diligunt mu- 
nera, sequuntur retributiones, ad 
injurias prout sunt, calumniis gau- 
dent, peccata populi comedunt 

et bibunt, quibus vivitur ex rapto, 
ut non sit hospes ab hospite tutus. 
Qui in eis prsestantissimi sunt, 
debent utique servare legeni 
Domini, sed non faciunt" (Ep. 
166). John goes on to congra- 
tulate Nicolas on having had his 
eyes opened to the merits and the 
salvability of Archdeacons by his 
own promotion to that venerable 
class (as Archdeacon of Hunting- 
don ; see Foss, i. 305). 
t> Grim, 35. 


CiiAr. VI. 

things might be restored to the condition in which he 
represented them as having stood during the reign of 
his grandfather Henry I. a The clergy withdrew for 
consultation, and the question was discussed with argu- 
ments such as have been reported in the preceding 
chapter. The bishops " not pillars of the Church, but 
reeds," as one writer calls them b were inclined to 
temporise and to yield ; but the primate, by forcibly 
representing the case as one of duty to the Church and 
of faithfulness to their trust, succeeded in animating 
them with something of his own spirit, and, on returning 
to the King's presence, they declared that they could 
not give an unqualified assent to his demands. Henry, 
provoked by their appearance of unanimity, asked 
them one by one whether they would obey the customs 
of his ancestors ; the Archbishop replied that they 
would, " saving their order," and the bishops severally 
made the same declaration, with the single exception of 
Hilary of Chichester, who, alarmed by the King's evi- 
dent anger, thought to escape the difficulty by substi- 
tuting the words bona fide for salvo or dine. This change, 
however, instead of appeasing Henry added to his 
exasperation. d He burst out into violent abuse of 
Hilary, and furiously told the ecclesiastics that they 
were banded in a conspiracy against him, that there 

R Gamier, 27 ; Roger, 116. 

b S. T. C., ii. 254. 

c Herb., 109. 

d The violence of Henry's rage 
is often mentioned. Peter of Blois, 
in his interesting character of him, 

says, " Oculi ejus orbiculati sunt 
dum pacati est anirni, columbini et 
simplices ; sed in ira et turbatione 
cordis quasi scintillantes ignem, 
et in impetu fulminantes." Ep. 
66, Patrol., ccvii. 197. 

A.D. 1163. 



was poison in their words. " By God's eyes ! " he 
swore, "you shall not say anything of saving your 
order, but shall agree outright and expressly to my 
constitutions." a It was in vain that the Archbishop 
reminded him that the reservation was always made in 
the episcopal oath of fealty ; b the King abruptly quitted 
the meeting without the usual parting salutation to 
the bishops, leaving them in extreme terror as to the 
consequences which might follow from their resistance 
to his will. The Bishop of Chichester suffered from 
both sides for his unlucky attempt at conciliation, for, 
as the bishops were retiring to their lodgings, the 
primate severely rebuked him for the concession which 
he had ventured to make without the authority of his 
brethren. On the following morning Henry sent to 
demand of Becket the surrender of Eye and Berk- 
hampstead, and left London without again seeing the 

He soon after summoned the Archbishop to wait on 
him at Northampton, and an interview took place be- 
tween them outside the walls, as Henry professed to 
consider that the town was not large enough to hold the 
numerous trains of followers by which each of them was 
attended. The King reproached Becket with ingrati- 
tude for the favours which he had shown him. " Were 

Roger, 117 ; Herb., 109-110 ; 
Summa Causse, S. T. C., ii. 255. 

b Thorn., Ep. iii. 36; Herb. 
110. To this it might have been 
answered that the reservation was 
now interpreted as implying the 
immunities, which Henry had not 
before supposed to be included 

under it. 

c Herb., 111. Carte remarks 
severely on the inconsistency of 
the Archbishop's retaining the 
military charges with his profes- 
sions on resigning the civil office 
of Chancellor, i. 583. 




you not," he asked, " the son of one of my villeins ? " 
" Of a truth," was the answer, "I am not sprung from 
royal ancestors,* as neither was blessed Peter, the prince 
of the Apostles, to whom the Lord deigned to give the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven and the principality of 
the whole Church." " True," said the King ; " but he 
died for his Lord." "And I, too," answered Becket, 
"will die for my Lord, when the time shall come." 
"You lean too much on the ladder which you have 
mounted." b "I trust in and lean on the Lord ; for 
cursed is the man that putteth his hope in man." 
The conversation was long; but, as the Archbishop 
refused to give up the reservation on which he had 
before insisted, they parted without coming to any 

The prelates, in general, were greatly alarmed, and 
dreaded a breach with the King. Intrigue, too, was 
busy among them. Arnulf, Bishop of Lisieux, a man 
highly regarded for his ability, eloquence, and learning, 
but crafty, d scheming, and utterly dishonest, came over 
from Normandy about this time, and, by way of ingra- 
tiating himself with Henry, under whose displeasure he 
had for some time been suffering, suggested that the 
King should form a party among the clergy, as the 
most effectual means of thwarting the primate. 6 Koger 
of York, the ancient enemy of Becket, Hilary of Chi- 

* " Atavis editus regibus." 
(Horat. Od. i. 1.) He quotes the 
same words iii a letter to the 
Bishops, S. T. C., iii. 178. 

b " Tu nimis affigeris et inni- 
teris scansilibus tuis." 

c Roger, 118-9. 

d Bob. de Monte, A.D. 1141. 

e Grim, 25 ; Roger, 119 ; Gar- 
nier, 68* ; W. Cant., 6. See Ap- 
pendix XII. 

A.D. 1164. 



Chester, and Foliot, who had lately been translated 
to London, readily lent themselves to this scheme. 
Kobert of Melun, the successor of Foliot in Hereford, 
and Kobert, Bishop of Lincoln, joined the party, a while 
other prelates were by no means disposed to follow the 
Archbishop in all his courses. b A secret agreement 
was made, we do not know with how many bishops, by 
which they gave up the obnoxious reservation. " Thus," 
says Fitzstephen, " those who had the highest reputa- 
tion for learning became the most ready to crush the 
liberty of the Church ;" and Grim imputes to these 
prelates the blame of Henry's subsequent acts; for 
how (he asks) should the King suspect himself to be in 
the wrong, when all but the Archbishop were with 
him? d 

The King's influence among the clergy soon mani- 
fested itself in various pretensions which were set up 
in opposition to the primate. The Archbishop of York 

K. Hoveden, 282, b. 

b M. Thierry says that Henry 
gained the Norman bishops by 
various arguments, "et peut-etre 
par des insinuations des desseins 
presumes de I Anglais Becket 
contre tous lea grands d'Angle- 
terre, enfin, par plusieurs raisons 
que les historiens ne detaillent 
pas" (iii. 116). The omissions 
of the old historians are extremely 
convenient for imaginative mo- 
derns. As to one of the bishops, 
"dont les noms, purement Frau- 
ais, indiquent assez leur origine," 
M. Thierry was not aware that he 
was really an Englishman, and de- 

rived his surname from having long 
taught with great renown at Melun. 
John of Salisbury tells us that he 
himself had studied under "Ma- 
gistro Koberto Meludensi; ut no- 
mine designetur quod meruit in 
scholarum regimine (natione si- 
quidem Angligena est)." Metalog. 
ii. 10, where a character of him as 
a teacher is given (Of. iv. 24). 
After the quarrel with Becket, 
John sneers at Kobert, as if his re- 
putation were above his merits 
(Epp. 175, 183), and proposes a 
plan for winning him over by 
means of his vanity (Ep. 183). 
c 213. d 37. 



renewed some claims which his predecessors since the 
Conquest had asserted for their see as equal in dignity 
to Canterbury. a Clarembald, a Norman, who had been 
thrust by the King on the monks of St. Augustine's 
at Canterbury as abbot, maintained, as some earlier 
abbots had done, that his community was exempt from 
the archiepiscopal jurisdiction, and required that the 
primate should give him the pastoral benediction in his 
own monastery without exacting any profession of obe- 
dience^ And Foliot, who on his translation had evaded 
a renewal of his profession to the metropolitan see, 
now claimed independence of Canterbury, on the ground 
of the ancient ecclesiastical eminence of London, which 
he is said to have deduced from the days when it was 
the seat of an archflamen of Jupiter ! d Whatever we 

8 These claims were founded on 
the letter by which Gregory the 
Great had directed that Augustine, 
the apostle of the Anglo-Saxons, 
should found archiepiscopal sees at 
London and York, each with 
twelve suffragans under it (Beda, 
i. 29) ; but this scheme, arranged 
in ignorance of the changes which 
had taken place in England since 
the withdrawal of the Romans, was 
never carried out. Augustine 
established himself in the capital 
of Kent, where he bad been first 
received, as London was in another 
kingdom. York, after having had 
one archbishop, who was driven 
from it, did not recover its metro- 
political dignity for more than a 
century (Godwin, 656) ; and the 
number of suffragans was always 

far greater in the southern province. 
The claims of York had been as- 
serted by Thomas I. against Lan- 
franc, and had been revived by 
Gerard, Thomas II., and Thur- 
stan, but without success. For the 
York side of the question, see 
Stubbs, in Twysden. 

b Diceto,534. See Append. XIII. 

c Becket at Tours had urged 
the Pope to make him renew it, 
and had been told that this was 
needless ; but Foliot took advant- 
age of the omission. See S. T. C., 
iv. 20, 247-8, 255. 

d S. T. C., iv. 236 ; Joh. Sarisb., 
Ep. 289. This claim (which John 
treats with much humour) was pro- 
bably grounded on the False Decre- 
tals, where St. Peter is represented 
as charging Clement, bishop of 

A.D. 1164. 



may think of these several pretensions, there can be 
little doubt that they were precisely such as Becket 
would have been likely to raise, and to maintain with 
his characteristic tenacity, if his position towards his 
opponents had been reversed. 

Assiduous attempts were made by bishops, nobles, and 
others, to win over the Archbishop to compliance with 
the royal wishes. The danger of the Church the cha- 
racter of Henry Becket's old friendship with him, and 
the hope which he might have of recovering all his former 
influence with increase, if these quarrels could be laid to 
rest such considerations were continually pressed on 
him. It was urged, too, that although the King was 
desirous, for the sake of his own honour, that the bishops 
should withdraw their reservation, he had no intention 
to take advantage of this to the prejudice of their obli- 
gations or of the Church's rights. a But against all such 
importunities the Archbishop stood inflexibly firm, until 
he was waited on by Philip, Abbot of l'Aum6ne, b an 
envoy from the Pope, with the Count of Vendome, and 
the Bishop of Hereford. These personages earnestly soli- 
cited him to comply, the abbot professing that for this 
course he had the authority of the Pope and the cardinals ; 

Eome, to establish primates, patri- 
archs, and archbishops in places 
where there had been arch-flamens 
(Hardouin, i. 46). The passage was 
adopted into Gratian's Decretum, 
Dist. Ixxx. c. 2. An earlier bishop 
of London, Richard, had set up 
pretensions to the pall, which was 

the symbol of metropolitan dignity, 
but had been defeated by the 
opposition of St. Anselm. See 
Anselin. Ep. iii. 152. 

a Grim, 26 ; Herb., Ill ; Arnulf., 
150-1 ; Gamier, 68*. 

b See Appendix XIV. 




and at length he yielded to their entreaties.* Grim seems 
to throw doubt on the truth of the envoy's assertion. 1 * The 
fact may have been, as Lord Lyttelton suggests, that 
the Pope had in general terms directed Philip to recom- 
mend conciliatory measures, but without intending that 
conciliation should be carried so far. The Archbishop, 
however, was persuaded, and, in an interview at Oxford 
or Woodstock/ intimated his submission to the King, 
who thereupon declared that, since the refusal to accept 
the customs had been public, the assent to them must 
be equally so. As Becket's compliance had been ob- 
tained by the assurance that the King had no thought of 
pressing the matter beyond a mere formal submission 
nay, that he had sworn this to certain cardinals the 
demand that his acknowledgment should be publicly 
made took him wholly by surprise. 6 

In January, 1164, the prelates and temporal nobles 
met at the royal palace of Clarendon, near Salisbury, 
under the presidency of John of Oxford, an ecclesiastic 
who enjoyed Henry's confidence, and was much em- 
ployed by him in political business/ It would appear 
that the business of the council lasted three days f but, 
amid contradictory reports, it is impossible to ascertain 
in what order it was transacted. The Archbishop, on 

a Garnier, 69* ; Gervase, 1385 ; 
W. Cant., 7. 

b 26-7. 

< ii. 353. See Pauli, 39; Mil- 
man, 463 ; Buss, 247. 

d Woodstock, according to Gar- 
nier (69*), and Roger (123) ; 
Oxford, according to Herbert, 


e Grim, 27 ; Roger, 121 ; Ger- 
vase, 1385. 

* Herb., 114 ; Wendover, ii. 298. 
The day is variously given. See 
Pauli, 40. 

s Foliot, iii. 171. 

A.D. 1164. 



being asked to assent to the observance of the " ancient 
customs " or " royal dignities," declared that he did not 
know what was required under these terms ; whereupon 
the King ordered that the customs should be reduced to 
writing, in order (as Grim represents him to have said) 
that no one might in after time presume to charge him 
with the introduction of novelties. a Another biographer 
tells us that Henry himself knew no more of the ancient 
usages than the Archbishop, and that matter adverse to 
the Church was inserted by his ill-disposed advisers, among 
whom the Archbishop afterwards named the grand jus- 
ticiary de Luci and Joscelin de JBailleul as the chief 
authors of these "heretical pravities." b In how far the 
laws, which were now for the first time written, had been 
in force, as was alleged, on the ground of custom in the 
reign of Henry I. in how far they were wholly new 
means of meeting new pretensions of the hierarchy and 
the papacy it might be difficult to say ; but it is cer- 
tainly in favour of the character which they claimed, 
that Becket and his followers, although they lavish the 
strongest language of reprobation on them, are never 
found to venture on a distinct denial of that character in 
any point. 

a i. 31. 

b Herb., vii. 115-6; Thorn, in 
S. T. C., iii. 12. 

c Carte, i. 601 ; Pauli, 44. See, 
e. gr., Fitzstephen, 116, who, after 
saying, " Sed scriptse nunquam 
prius fuerant, nee etiam omnino 
fuerant in regno Angliae hse con- 
suetudines," runs out into a cita- 
tion of such maxims as that our 

Lord did not say, " I am custom," 
but " I am the truth." This is from 
the speech of a bishop named 
Libosus, in one of the councils 
held by St. Cyprian (Patrol., iii. 
1064). The learning which Fitz- 
stephen displays on the occasion 
seems to have been borrowed from 
Gratian, Dist. viii. c. 4, sqq. 




On the second day of the council were produced the i 
sixteen articles which are known as the Constitutions of 
Clarendon. Both in their general spirit and in their 
details these articles bear very hardly on what the high 
hierarchical party regarded as the rights of the Church. 
Clergymen accused of any offence were to be subject to 
trial in the King's court, if the matter were one belonging 
to its cognizance ; the King's justices were to have the 
right of sending an officer to watch the trial of such 
clerks by the spiritual court, and, if they confessed or 
were convicted, the Church was not to shelter them, 
(iii.) a No prelate or other ecclesiastic was to leave the 
realm without the Sovereign's license, and those who 
should receive this were to give security that in their 
absence they would attempt nothing against the King or 
kingdom, (iv.) This law was evidently a check on going 
to the Pope, either in consequence of a summons or in 
order to prosecute an appeal : b Foliot, however, after- 
wards attempted to explain it to Alexander as intended 
only to restrain the fondness which was often displayed 
for carrying even civil causes to the Pope for judgment, 
without previously ascertaining whether justice might 
not be obtained at home. c Appeals were to be carried 
from the archdeacon to the bishop, from the bishop to 
the archbishop ; and, if the archbishop should fail to do 
justice, resort was to be had to the King, " that by his 
precept the controversy may be ended in the archbishop's 
court, so that it may not go further without the assent 

a See Appendix X. as to Justinian. b Fitzst., i. 216. 

c S. T. C., v. 239. 

A.D. 1164. 


of our Lord the King." (viii.) a The King's tenants in 
chief and the members of his household were not to be 
excommunicated, nor were their lands to be interdicted, 
without his leave, or until after an inquiry in which the 
rights of the temporal as well as of the spiritual courts 
were regarded, (vii.) b The archbishops, bishops, and 
other ecclesiastical dignitaries were to hold their posses- 
sions under the King as barons, and were to perform all 
feudal duties except in judgments affecting life or limb, 
(xi.) The revenues of vacant sees and abbeys were to 
be at the King's disposal/ and the election to such digni- 
ties was brought more under his control than before, (xii.) 
Lastly, the sons of " rustics " or villeins (M. Thierry's 
Saxons) were not to be ordained without the consent of 
the lords on whose lands they were born 6 a rule clearly 

* Kobert of Gloucester's version 
of this is, 

" That the king amend! scholde the arche- 
bishopes dede, 

And beo in the popg's stede." (29.) 

Gervase, a writer in Becket's 
interest, states that appeals to 
Eome had been " inusitatse " until 
the time when Henry of Winches- 
ter was legate (1369). 

b See note, p. 73 ; and Selden, 
n. in Eadmer, Patrol., clix. 558. 

c William the Conqueror had sub- 
stituted the tenure by barony for 
that of frank-almoign (or free alms). 
See Blackstone, ed. Kerr, i. 141 ; 
Griffiths, n. on Inett, ii. 323. 

d Henry I. had renounced this 
on his reconciliation with Anselm 
(Eadmer, Hist. Nov., iv. ; Patrol., 
clix. 4G3). For the extent to which 
Henry II. took advantage of it, 

see Lingard, ii. 131-2. Noel Alex- 
andre seems to hold that the king 
was entitled to receive the income, 
but was bound to spend it on reli- 
gious and charitable uses (xiii. 135). 
e Gervase, 1386-8. See Planck, 
iv. 398-400; Lingard, ii. 131-4; 
Pauli, 42-3. Mapes complains that, 
while freemen disdained to get 
their sons instructed in the arts 
which were styled liberal* as being 
suitable for freemen, " servi, quos 
vocamus rusticos, suos ignomini- 
osos et dege acres in artibus eis in- 
debitis enutrire contendunt, non ut 
exeant a vitiis, sed ut abundant 
divitiis, qui quanto fiunt peritiores, 
tarito perniciores " [perditiores ?] 
(De Nugis Curialium, p. 9). By 
ordination a villein gained at one 
step, not only emancipation, but the 
peculiar privileges of the clergy. 




aimed against the Primate, whose cause was supported 
by the lower clergy in general." 

On these and the other items Becket remarked as they 
were read one by one. Of the constitution which aimed 
at subjecting the clergy to secular courts, he exclaimed 
that now Christ was to be judged anew before Pilate ; b 
as to that which concerned the appointment of bishops, 
he declared with great vehemence that he could not, 
without the sanction of the Pope and of the universal 
Church, give up the principle of canonical election, and 
thereby place the insular Church of England in a con- 
dition of schism from the rest of Christendom. The 
matter, he found, was worse than he had imagined when 
he promised to conform, and he resolved, notwithstanding 
his promise, to refuse compliance. The bishops were 
disposed to stand by him, and Henry was excited to an 
incontrollable tempest of rage. As the ecclesiastics were 
sitting in anxious deliberation, armed knights burst into 
the conclave, brandishing swords and axes, and threat- 
ening death to all who should persist in opposition to the 
royal wilL The Bishops of Salisbury and Norwich, 4 who 
were at this time especially obnoxious to Henry, in terror 
implored the Primate to relent. The Earls of Cornwall 
and Leicester one of them the King's uncle, the other 
joint-justiciary of England 6 earnestly added their en- 
treaties, saying that they apprehended some unheard-of 
violence. " It is nothing new or unheard-of," he answered, 

Fronde, 32 ; Pauli, 43. 

b Herb., vii. 117. 

c Ib. 120. 

d Herbert names Henry of Win- 

chester instead of William of Nor- 
wich, vii. 115. As to Joscelin, see 
below, p. 101, note b . 
e Foss, i. 191. 

A.D. 1164. 



"if it should be our lot to die for the rights of the 
Church ; for this a multitude of saints have taught us, 
both by word and by example : only may God's will be 
done ! " Richard de Hastings, provincial of the Temp- 
lars, and another eminent member of the same order, fell 
at his feet, embraced his knees, and, assuring him that 
the King was only desirous to avoid the appearance of 
defeat, promised on their salvation that, if he would but 
submit, he should hear no more of the customs.* At 
length the Archbishop was moved ; he withdrew for a 
short time for consideration, and on returning said to his 
brethren, "It is the Lord's will that I should forswear 
myself; for the present 1 submit, and incur the guilt of 
perjury, to repent hereafter as I may." b In the hearing 
of all he promised, on his priestly word, to keep the laws 
" loyally and with good faith," and, at the King's desire, he 
charged the other prelates, on their canonical obedience, 
to do the like. When, however, the King proceeded 
to require that he should set his seal to the constitutions, 
a fresh difficulty arose. By this act he would, according 
to the notions of the time, have bound himself more 
thoroughly than by his verbal promise ; and the proposal 

Grim, 30-1 ; Roger, 125 ; Will. 
Cant., 6-7; Gamier, 70*-1 ; Ger- 
vase, 1386. 

b Foliot, v. 271-2. Dr. Lingard 
attempts (ii. 131) to throw dis- 
credit on this statement, on account 
of the source from which it comes 
the letter or pamphlet of Foliot, 
which has been noticed in Appen- 
dix VI. But even if that letter 

were a forgery, the accounts of the 
biographers bear it out in all essen- 
tial points as to the occurrences at 
Clarendon, except that the letter 
names Joscelin of Salisbury as 
having stood firm with the other 
bishops, whom it accuses Becket 
of deserting. 

c Grim, 30 ; Foliot, v. 273. 




was inconsistent with the repeated assurances which he 
had received from persons pretending to authority, that 
the King would be satisfied with the slightest nominal 
submission, if it were made in the presence of the barons. a 
It would seem that he refused according to some, 'with 
an indignant exclamation of " Never, while there is breath 
in my body ! " b while others represent him as having 
endeavoured to elude the demand by asking time for 
consideration. 6 On this, it is said, the courtiers bethought 
themselves of a plan for entrapping him by other means. 
The parchment on which the constitutions were written 
in triplicate was divided, and one part was given to the 
King, one to the Archbishop of York, and one to the 
Primate. The acceptance of this document would natu- 
rally have been construed as an act of approval, and 
such was the intention of the King's advisers ; but some 
of the biographers tell us that Becket gave it the cha- 
racter of a protest, by declaring that he took the deed 
as " a voucher for the cause which he maintained," and 

a Grim, 31 ; Gamier, 72*. 

b Grim, 31; Koger, 127; Gar- 
nier, 72. 

c Herb., vii. 125. Fitzstephen 
(i. 257) says that he sealed, and is 
followed by Dr. Pauli (45) : on 
the other hand, see Keuter, i. 438. 
Mr. Morris says that the Arch- 
bishop promised to observe " the 
customs," but that he refused to 
set his seal to the constitutions, 
because this would have implied 
the further acknowledgment that 
the constitutions were really cus- 
toms (103-7). That such a view 

which really means that he did 
not pledge himself to anything at 
all is inadmissible, is evident 
from John of Salisbury's words : 
" Pollicitationem Clarendonae, ad 
quam de consilio episcoporum com- 
pulsus est, purgare non possum, 
quia non fuit utique facienda ; sed 
oflfensam confessio diluit," &c. 
(Ep. 225 ; cf. Ep. 193, col. 208 B.) 
Indeed, the idea is incompatible 
with the story of the cross-bearer, 
which Mr. Morris gives in the 
next page. 

A.D. 1164. 



as an evidence of the measures against which he held 
himself bound to contend.* 

The admirers of Becket do not pretend to justify his 
conduct on this occasion. It is compared by his con- 
temporaries to the falls of David and St. Peter, and he 
himself was ashamed of it even at the time. " I know," 
he is reported to have said, " that what we have done 
must be condemned, if a good intent were not an 
excuse for a blameable act." b As he was proceeding 
with his train towards Winchester, after the council, he 
for a long time kept a melancholy silence, and at length, 
on being addressed by Herbert of Bosham, burst out 
into bitter lamentations, weeping profusely as he traced 
the calamities which had come on the Church to the 
intrusion, through the royal power, of a person so un- 
worthy as himself a courtier and a follower of worldly 
vanities into the office of its chief pastor. 

It is natural that some of those who judge unfavour- 
ably of Becket should exult over the conduct which his 
friends have not the boldness to defend. Yet, perhaps, 
the extreme reprobation of it in which such writers 
indulge is somewhat exaggerated ; for the Archbishop's 
behaviour at Clarendon was marked rather by weakness 
and vacillation than by deliberate perfidy. He yielded 

Grim, 31 ; Koger, 127 ; Will. 
Cant., 10 ; Herb. vii. 125 ; Gar- 
nier, 73 ; Gervase, 1388 ; Hoveden, 
282 b. 

b Grim, 31. Some of the bishops 
had thought to escape from the 
difficulties of the case by the in- 
genious evasion that they might 
profess to assent to the " cus- 

toms," meaning thereby only such 
as were good, since the bad were 
not customs, but abuses! The 
Lambeth biographer has the ho- 
nesty to reprobate this (91-2). 

c Herb., vii. 126.' See Appen- 
dix XV. Becket alters the name 
of Clarendon into cleri damnum 
(iii. 97). 



to the earnest and urgent entreaties of others against 
his own judgment, and that for the sake of averting 
imminent danger from his friends rather than from him- 
self. Nor can we fully agree in the measure of con- 
demnation which Lord Lyttelton a bestows on his next 
proceedings, when he suspended himself from saying 
mass until he should receive the Pope's forgiveness for 
his late act, and yet joined with other prelates, by the 
King's desire, in requesting the papal sanction for the 
constitutions. 1 * To this sanction his own approval was, of 
course, subject, and without it the constitutions would 
have been a nullity in the eyes of the hierarchical party. 
That the Archbishop should join in the application to 
the Pope seems, therefore, a necessary consequence of 
what he had before done, while his private suit for abso- 
lution was the result of his feeling that his assent had 
been wrong or questionable. The position into which 
he had brought himself was a most unhappy one, in 
which it was impossible altogether to avoid blame. 
We cannot much wonder at the course which he took, 
and we shall do well to lay the chief weight of our cen- 
sure rather on some earlier parts of his conduct than on 
the inconsistency which was almost an inevitable result 
of them. 

The period between the departure and the return of 
the envoys who were sent to request the Pope's for- 
giveness was spent by Becket in rigorous penitential 
exercises. Their absence, however, was not long, as 

ii. 364. I Anon. Lamb., 97. 

b Fitzst., 217 ; W. Cant., 10 ; I c Anon. Lamb., 96. 

A.D. 1164. 



they found Alexander at Sens ; and they returned with 
an indulgent answer, desiring the Archbishop to resume 
the offices of the altar, and to confess to some skilful 
spiritual guide whatever might weigh on his conscience/ 
About the same time Henry endeavoured to gain the 
Pope's approval for his constitutions through the new 
Archdeacon of Canterbury, Kidel, and John of Oxford, 
who has been already mentioned as president of the 
assembly at Clarendon. The Bishop of Lisieux, and 
Kichard of Ilchester, Archdeacon of Poitiers, had been 
despatched on a similar mission before the Council of 
Clarendon, and we are told that they ^crossed the sea 
six times in the course of three months ; b but neither 
they nor the other negotiators were able to obtain the 
ratification of the constitutions. Another object with 
the King was to" procure for the Archbishop of York the 
authority of legate over all England. JThe Pope, at 
once unwilling to vex Becket by granting his rival a 
superiority over him and afraid to irritate Henry by an 
absolute refusal, attempted to compromise the matter by 
sending the King a legatine commission, with permission 
to deliver it to the Archbishop of York, if Becket's con- 
sent could be obtained, and under the condition that it 
should not be used to the prejudice of the see of Canter- 
bury. This ingenious expedient, however, was utterly un- 
successful ; for the King, instead of being gratified by 
the commission, felt himself insulted by the restrictions 

Alex, in Thorn. Ep. 201 ; 
Koger, 127 ; Herb., vii. 131. 
b Diceto (536) says this of Arnulf 

and the archdeacon of Poitiers r but 
it is more probably to be under- 
stood of the successive envoys. 




which, rendered it useless for his purpose, and indig- 
nantly returned it to the Pope. a 

In the mean time the Primate's enemies were not idle. 
Herbert of Bosham divides them into three species, 
which he compares respectively to gnats, bees, and 
scorpions ; and to these he afterwards adds " fat bulls of 
Basan " the hostile bishops, with their " calves," or 
clerks. b The gnats and bees buzzed into the royal ears 
all manner of rumours unfavourable to Becket ; and in 
consequence of these stories, apparently, Henry refused 
to see him when he presented himself at the gates of 
Woodstock Palace. The Archbishop then resolved to 
go to the Pope, in defiance of the King, and in violation 
of his own solemn promise to observe the Constitutions 
of Clarendon. He twice embarked from Romney ; but 
the sailors, either in consequence of adverse winds, or 
from fear of punishment for aiding him to flee the 
country, put back to the port from which they had 
started ; and on the second occasion his return to Can- 
terbury by night was barely in time to save his effects 
from seizure by the King's officers, who had intended to 
take possession of them in the morning. 

a Alex, in Thorn. Epp. 198-9 
(Feb. 1164); Grim, 33; Koger, 
128; Will. Cant, 11; Gamier, 
74*; Hoveden, 282, b. ; Ger- 
vase, 1386. Most writers say that 
the legation was granted to the 
King for himself (and for this 
committal of ecclesiastical power 
to a lay Sovereign there were 
standing examples in Hungary 

and in Sicily see Sylvest. II. in 
Patrol, cxxxvii. 276 ; Urban. II., 
ib. cli. 506) ; but the Pope's letters 
show that it was for the Arch- 
bishop of York. 

b vii. 133, 140. 

c Fitzst.,218; Koger, 130; Alan, 
342 ; Gamier, 75-6* ; Gervas., 

A.D. 1164. 



He now again sought an interview witli Henry at 
Woodstock, and was received with decorum, but with 
an evident lack of cordiality. The King, although 
greatly dissatisfied with his late attempt to break the 
law against leaving England, affected to treat it lightly 
by asking with a smile whether one kingdom were not 
large enough to hold both, and desiring the Archbishop 
to govern his province without further thought of going 
abroad. Becket proceeded to fulfil this injunction, but 
not, it may be presumed, in a manner likely to allay the 
royal irritation. " The son of the shaken-out," says 
Herbert, " shook himself out, a and with the prophet's 
mattock b plucked up, pulled down, scattered, and rooted 
out whatsoever he found planted amiss in the garden of 
the Lord. His hand rested not, his eye spared not ; 
whatsoever was naughty, whatsoever rough, whatsoever 
crooked, he not only assailed with the prophet's mattock, 
but with the axe of the Gospel he cut it down. Of the 
royal and ecclesiastical customs, he observed such as 
were good ; but those which had been brought in for the 
dishonour of the clergy he pruned away as bastard shoots, 
that they might not strike their roots deep." c 

In such proceedings, and in vain attempts at media- 
tion by Rotrou, Bishop of Evreux, who had been sent 
into England by the Pope with a view to the restoration 

a "Excussit se filius excus- 
sorum." See Appendix XVI. 

b "Sarculo." Isaiah, vii. 25. The 
next words refer to Jerem. i. 10. 

c vii. 132. The Pope had some- 
what earlier referred with disappro- 
bation to his restless movements. 

u Fraternitati tuse prsecipiendo 
mandamus, quatenus te in Can- 
tuariensem ecclesiam recipias, et 
paucis quidem retentis admodum 
necessariis, ad minus quam po- 
teris per terrain illam discurras" 
(iv. 5). (Oct. 26, 1163.) 




of peace, a the time passed until tlie beginning of 
October, 1164, when the Primate was summoned to 
answer before a council or parliament at Northampton 
for his behaviour to John the Marshal, an officer of the 
Koyal Exchequer.* 

Eoger, 128 ; Hoveden, 252, b. 

b Fitzst., 220. The Marshalsea 
of the Exchequer was a hereditary 
office, from which the family de- 
rived its name. John was father 
or elder brother of the more cele- 

brated William Earl of Pembroke 
(Dugdale's Baronage, 599 ; Grif- 
fiths, n. on Inett, ii. 327), and was 
one of the nobles present at Cla- 




THE national assembly at Northampton was to be of the 
most solemn character. Citations were addressed to all 
bishops and abbots, to earls, barons, high officers of the 
realm, " and to all of every kind who were of any 
authority or name." a But with regard to the highest in 
dignity of all, a remarkable exception was made : the 
Archbishop of Canterbury did not receive the usual 
summons, as the King, from an unwillingness to use 
the customary greeting, had for some time ceased to 
write to him; but his attendance was peremptorily 
ordered by a precept addressed to the Sheriff of Kent. b 
As he approached the town, on Tuesday, the 6th of 
October, he was met by some of his servants, who had 
been sent on before, with the complaint that the lodgings 
intended for his train had been occupied by the King's 
people an affront which was said to have been autho- 
rised by Henry himself. On receiving this report, the 
Archbishop at once halted, and sent a message to the 
King that he would go no farther unless the lodgings 
were given up. The King, who was engaged in hawking 

Roger, 132 ; Gamier, 77*. b Fitzst., 219. 




along the Nene, immediately ordered that his servants 
should make way for the Primate's household ; a and it 
seems more likely that the intruders had presumed on 
his known feeling towards Becket than that he had in 
any way sanctioned their- act. The Archbishop himself 
found hospitality in the Cluniac monastery of St. 
Andrew. b 

On the following morning he proceeded to the castle, 
Wednesday, where he was detained for some time while 
October 7. -j.j ie jj n g was hearing mass. At their meeting, 
Henry did not offer the usual kiss, c although the Arch- 
bishop made demonstration of his willingness to receive 
it. At the Archbishop's request, he ordered that William 
de Courcy should give up a lodging which he had 
ventured to retain, notwithstanding the command of 
the preceding day ; but he absolutely refused Becket's 
petition for leave to carry his complaints against Koger 
of York to the Pope ; neither the Archbishop nor any 
one else, he declared, should have his license to cross 
the sea. d 

The case of John the Marshal was then entered on. 
This nobleman had brought before the Archbishop's 
Court a claim to part of the Manor of Pagham, in 
Sussex, which belonged to the See of Canterbury ; and 

Koger, 132; Fitzst., 218. 

b See as to it, Dugdale, ' Mo- 
nast. Angl.,' v. 185-6. 

c " Osculi consuetam Anglis gra- 
tiam" (Fitzst., 218). I have seen 
(but forget the title of) a volume 
of travels by a Frenchman, who 
visited England in the end of 

the 17th century, and expresses 
his surprise at the fondness of the 
English for such salutations a 
proof, seemingly, that an exchange 
of manners has since taken place 
between the two nations. 
d Fitzst., 219 ; Roger, 133. 

A.D. 1164. 



as the suit appeared to be going against him, he had 
taken advantage of a law (apparently one of the 
Clarendon constitutions 21 ) which enabled suitors, in 
such circumstances, to remove their cases into the 
King's Court by swearing that they had failed to obtain 
justice. A writ had thereupon been issued, by which the 
Archbishop was summoned to answer to the charge of 
injustice ; but on the day appointed, instead of appear- 
ing in person, he sent four knights, with letters from 
himself and the Sheriff of Kent, in which it was stated 
that John had failed in his evidence, and that his oath 
on removing the suit, instead of being duly made on 
the gospels or on relics of saints, had been sworn on a 
tropary which he produced from under his cloak. b The 
King, however, had not admitted this excuse, and the 
Archbishop was now required to answer, not only for 
his alleged refusal of justice, but for his nonappearance 
at Westminster, which was charged as treason against 
the Sovereign. As John himself was not yet in attend- 
ance, being detained in London by the business of the 
Exchequer, the question of treason was to be first exa- 
mined ; and to this the council proceeded on the second 
day of its sittings, when in addition to the nobles Thursday, 
of England, and to some from Normandy, all the October 8 - 

See p. 98. 

b Fitzsl, 219; Foliot, v. 275; 
Roger, 130. The Troparium was 
so called from containing Tropes, 
which were properly certain ver- 
sicles sung at mass on parti- 
cular festivals before the Introit, 
or alternately with the versicles of 
the Introit. They are now dis- 

used in the Roman church. (See 
Ducange, s. v. ; Gueranger, Insti- 
tutions Liturgiques, i. 260 ; Daniel, 
Codex Liturg., i. 116.) Mr. Sharon 
Turner makes the tropary " a book 
of songs," and is followed by Mr. 
Froude (p. 85), while another late 
writer still further improves it into 
" a jest-book ! " 




bishops were assembled, except Walter of Bochester, who 
did not arrive until later, Nigel of Ely, who was paralytic, 
and William of Norwich, who absented himself out of 
dislike for the King's supposed designs, and expressed a 
wish that he had as good an excuse as his neighbour of 
Ely. a The Archbishop's defence that he had been ill 
and unable to travel was rejected as insufficient to 
excuse his neglect of his liege lord's summons ; and it 
was unanimously adjudged that he was " at the King's 
mercy," a phrase which implied the forfeiture of all 
his effects, unless the King should be pleased (as was 
usual in such cases) to accept a fine by way of commu- 
tation. A lively discussion now arose between the 
prelates and the barons each party endeavouring to 
shift on the other the duty of pronouncing sentence. 
The barons argued that, as the culprit was an ecclesi- 
astic, it was not for laymen, but for his own brethren, 
to sentence him. " Nay," answered a bishop, " it is 
rather your business ; for this is not an ecclesiastical but 
a secular judgment : it is not as bishops, but as barons, 
that we sit here ; we are all peers and barons alike. If 
you speak of our orders, you must have regard to Jiisl 
orders too ; and even because we are bishops, we ma 11 
not judge our metropolitan and lord." At length tin 
King in anger put an end to the debate by ordering tin 
bishop of Winchester to deliver the judgment, and th( 
aged prelate unwillingly performed the task. The Arch 

a Fitzst^ 220; Gervase, 1391. 
But the authorities are not quite 
agreed as to the absentees. Alan 

afterwards speaks of the Bishop 
of Norwich as present, 347. 

A.D. 1164. 



bishop had been disposed to resist the authority of his 
judges, but submitted at the entreaty of the bishops," 
who all, with the exception of Foliot, joined in giving 
security for his payment of 500?. the fine which was 
inflicted in lieu of forfeiture.* The original question as 
to his treatment of John the Marshal was allowed to 
fall to the ground. b 

Henry, however, had not yet done with Becket, to 
whom he had declared that he meant to reduce him 
to the condition in which he had found him. c His 
own wish was to attack the Archbishop on subjects 
connected with the ecclesiastical privileges ; but, as his 
advisers represented that the bishops would probably be 
unwilling to take a part against what was regarded as 
the cause of the Church, he consented to change his 
policy, and had recourse to charges of a personal kind. d 
The nature of these charges and the manner in which 
they were prosecuted have been freely censured by 
writers who are decidedly unfavourable to Becket ; e 
they were, in truth, chosen as the only available weapons 
against an opponent who had given the King just cause 
for displeasure, but seemed likely to escape if other 
means of prosecution had been employed. First a 
demand was advanced for 300?., which Becket had 

a Fitzst., i. 221 ; Grim, i. 40 ; 
Roger, i. 133 ; Gamier, 77*. 

b Roger, i. 134. Becket's bio- 
graphers, who delight in tales of 
judgments on his opponents, state 
that within a year John lost two 
sons, for whom he had intended 
to provide out of the church's pa- 
trimony, and himself also died. 

(Grim, i. 40 ; Gamier, 32.) The 
Archbishop also mentions these 
deaths, which he ascribes to John's 
having wrongfully got Mundeham 
(in Pagham) from the King, iii. 220. 

c Roger, i. 130 ; Gamier, 28. 

d Roger, i. 137. 

e As Inett, ii. 258 ; and Mr. 
Martineau, 341. 


received as warden of Eye and Berkhampstead. He 
replied that he had spent that sum and much more on 
the repairs of the castles, and of the Tower of London ; 
but, as the King denied that he had sanctioned the ex- 
penditure, the Archbishop declared that a question of 
money should not be a bar to peace, and gave three 
securities for the payment, his old adversary, William 
of Eynesford, being one. a 

The proceedings of the third day opened with charges 
Friday, about two sums of 500 marks each, connected 
**' 9< with the war of Toulouse, the one lent by 
Henry, the other borrowed by the Chancellor from a 
Jew, on the King's security. Becket affirmed that the 
first of these sums was a gift, but the King demanded a 
judgment, and it was decided that, as the Archbishop 
could produce no evidence in support of his statement, 
he must pay the money. The King then asked for 
securities, and, on Becket's answering that he had pro- 
perty far more than sufficient to meet the demand, 
Henry jeeringly reminded him that all his moveables 
had been confiscated on the preceding day, and inti- 
mated that he must find security or be arrested. Five 
sureties were therefore bound, each for a hundred 
pounds. b 

These demands were followed by one of more 
alarming magnitude, that the Archbishop should ac- 
count for the revenues of vacant sees and abbeys 
which had come into his hands while Chancellor, in- 
cluding those of the archbishopric itself. The amount 
of this demand is variously stated. Herbert, according 

Fitzst., i. 221-2. b Fitzst., i. 222 ; Herb., vii. 137. 

A.D. 1164. 



to the ' Quadrilogus ' (which is very inaccurately printed), 
is made to rate it at 230,000 marks ; in Dr. Giles's edition 
(which, although very far from immaculate, is probably 
more correct here) his words are " about 30,000 ;" while 
others speak of it as 40,000 or 44,000. a The Archbishop 
replied that he had not received notice to answer to any 
charge except that which concerned John the Marshal, 
and protested against being thus hurried into a trial of 
such serious importance. The King, however, declared, 
with violent oaths and threats, that he would endure no 
delay beyond the morrow. It was now clear to the 
observant courtiers that the Archbishop's ruin was deter- 
mined on ; and from this time they ceased to visit him. b 
On the morning of the fourth day the Archbishop 
held a consultation with the other prelates. Saturday, 
The Bishop of Winchester advised that the Oct 10 '' 
King's avarice should be gratified, and offered to give 
liberal aid for the purpose. A composition of 2000 
marks was accordingly proposed to Henry ; but he re- 
fused it, and by his order the bishops were shut up to 
resume their deliberations. /.The opinions which they 
now expressed were various as the characters of the 
speakers. The Bishop of London began by advising 
that, in consideration of past favours, and of the dangers 

Quadril., 48 ; Herb., vii. 137 ; 
S. T. C. iv. 271 ; vi. 196. Perhaps 
the editor of the Quadrilogue may 
have mistaken " circa " for " cc." 
30,000 pounds, which Roger names 
(i. 140) as the amount, would not 
differ much from 44,000 mar/rs. 
John of Salisbury, in a letter ad- 

dressed to Becket as Chancellor, 
mentions a report that the King 
had given him the income of three 
vacant bishoprics, "ad libera- 
tionem vestram." (Liberatio = 
salary Ducange, s. v.) Ep. 75. 

b Fitzst., i. 222 ; Koger, i. 134. 

Fitzst., i. 222. 





which threatened the Church, the Primate ought to 
yield up his see, if it were ten times as much, and to 
submit himself to the King, who might possibly by such 
a compliance be induced to restore him. Hilary of 
Chichester in ornate language, Kobert of Lincoln with 
a blunt simplicity, and Bartholomew of Exeter tendered 
similar counsel, while Henry of Winchester and others, 
more or less distinctly, advocated an opposite course. 
" If," said the Bishop of Winchester, " an archbishop, 
the Primate of all England, give bishops an example of 
yielding up their authority, and the care of the souls 
committed to them, at the nod and threat of a prince, 
what is to be expected but that the whole state of the 
Church should be confounded by arbitrary will, and 
that as is the people so should be the priest ?" a It was 
argued that no question could now be raised as to the 
Archbishop's administration of funds while Chancellor, 
inasmuch as at his election to the primacy an express 
declaration of his discharge from all secular obligations 
had been required by the Bishop of Winchester on the 
part of the Church, and had been granted, in the King's 
name, by Prince Henry and the Grand Justiciary. 1 " At 
length Becket desired leave to speak with the Earls of 
Cornwall and Leicester, and the doors were opened for 
their entrance. The Archbishop announced to them 
that he and his brethren had not yet been able to come 

a Alan, i. 223 ; Gervas, 1390. 
Koger (139), and Gamier (41), 
represent this sort of talk as hav- 
ing passed on the last day of the 
council, and the Bishop of Win- 

chester as having then advised a 

b Herb., vii. 138 ; Fitzst. 223. 
See Appendix XVII. 


to a determination, and that they requested the King to 
grant them a further delay. The Bishops of London 
and Kochester accompanied the Earls to the Court, 
and it is said that Foliot falsified his message so as to 
mislead the King into supposing that an answer of sub- 
mission might be expected. On this supposition Henry 
returned an answer by the Earls, and the Bishop of 
London was put to the blush by the exposure of his 
artifice which naturally followed.* 

Throughout Sunday, the llth of October, the Arch- 
bishop remained within his monastery, and employed 
the greater part of the day in anxious deliberations. 
In the course of the following night the agitation 
of his mind brought on an attack of an illness to 
which he was subject, and on the morning of Monday 
he was unable to appear at court. The King, sus- 
pecting that the illness was feigned, sent the Earls of 
Cornwall and Leicester to visit him, and to ask whether 
he would appear and would give bail to abide a trial as 
to the revenues ; to which he answered that he would 
appear next day, even if he should be carried on his 
couch. b In the mean time he was told that Henry was 
swearing with even more than usual vehemence, that 
some of the courtiers had conspired to kill him, and that 
the King had declared an intention of either putting him 
to death, or depriving him of his eyes and tongue, and 
imprisoning him for the remainder of his days. c Of 
these reports a part would seem to have been a mere 

a Alan, i. 344-5 ; Gervas., 1391. 
b Koger, i. 135 ; Herb. vii. 138 ; 
Garnier, 34. 

c Grim, i. 42 ; Roger, i. 135 ; 
Gamier, 35. 




invention, and the rest to have been greatly exag- 

The 13th of October Tuesday was the last and 
most memorable day of the council. b Early in the 
morning the Archbishop was waited on by some bishops, 
who urged him to avert the dangers of the Church by 
throwing himself unreservedly on the King's mercy, and 
represented to him that, if he should persist in his 
refusal, he would incur at once the charges of treason 
and of perjury, for breach of his feudal duty and of his 
engagement to obey the Constitutions of Clarendon. To 
this he replied that he had been deeply wrong in swearing 
against God, and that it was better to retract his oath 
than to consent to laws which were contrary to the 
Divine law. He, therefore, charged the bishops to stand 
by him in rejecting the constitutions ; he rebuked them 
for having thus far joined with laymen in judging him, 
their father, and charged them, on their obedience to the 
Koman Church, to do so no further ; and he enjoined 
them, if any violence should be offered to him, to lay the 
sentence of excommunication on the authors of it. The 
only one of the bishops who answered was Foliot, who at 
once appealed to Kome against this exercise of authority ; 
and the bishops withdrew, with the exception of those of 

" Je ne sais si li reis Tout fait appa- 


Qo'il volsist 1'arceuesque faire occireulier; 
Mais einsi li alerent le jur souent 


Puet eel estre, li reis le uoleit esmaier 
Que il le plustmielz parmanaces plaissier." 
Gamier, 40. 

b By Alan of Tewkesbury (S. T. 
C., i. 346), and others, it is strangely 

said to have been the hundredth 
anniversary of the Norman in- 
vasion. It was really (as Mr. 
Morris mentions, p. 139) the anni- 
versary of the Translation of Ed- 
ward the Confessor, which Becket 
had performed with great solemnity 
a year before. 

A.D. 1164. 



Winchester and Salisbury, who remained to comfort the 
Primate. a By way of preparing for the expected con- 
flict, the Archbishop then, by the advice of a " religious 
man," proceeded to the altar of St. Stephen in the mo- 
nastic church, where, solemnly arraying himself in the 
pall, which was usually reserved for high festivals, b he 
celebrated the mass of that saint, beginning with the 
introit Etenim sederunt principes (" Princes also did sit 
and speak against me "). His performance of this service 
was interrupted by a profusion of tears and sobs, and in 
the course of it he solemnly commended the cause of his 
Church to St. Stephen, the Blessed Virgin, and the 
patron saints of Canterbury. As some of the King's 
servants had been present, this act was forthwith reported 
at court, with the commentary (surely very warrantable, 
although it has been treated as the suggestion of bitter 
malice) that Becket intended a parallel between himself 
and the protomartyr. c On leaving the altar, the air of 

Herb., vii. 140-1 ; Gervas., 

b " Hanc quidam missam, piaster 
morem, eo die, quia festus non erat, 
cum pallio celebravit " (Herb., in 
Quadril. 53). Dr. Giles adds, 
"Nisi quia beati Calixti papse et 
martyris natalicium fuit " (which 
looks like an interpolation), and 
makes nonsense of the passage, by 
omitting "prseter morem" (vii. 

c Roger, i. 135 ; Fitzst., i. 225 ; 
Alan, i. 346 ; Herb., vii. 142 ; Gar- 
nier, 35 ; Gervas., 1391. The ad- 
viser is said to have told him that 
after this mass nothing could hurt 

him (Garn., Roger). Gervasesays 
that he used the mass of St. Ste- 
phen, not with reference to his own 
circumstances, but because the 
altar was St. Stephen's. But why 
was that altar chosen ? According 
to Gamier, Foliot afterwards told 
the Pope that Becket celebrated 
this mass " pur sorcerie .... et de- 
spit le rei." I. c. Becket was never 
backward to claim a parallel with 
a yet more sacred example than 
St. Stephen ; and this is carried 
out in the most extravagant (and, 
to modern taste, most offensive) 
manner by the old biographers. 
Herbert's ' Liber Melorum ' is 




contrite humility which he had worn during the celebra- 
tion was exchanged for a look of stern resolution " the 
face of a man at once and the face of a lion," as Herbert 
describes it with an allusion to the vision of Ezekiel. a 

It was his intention to proceed to the court barefooted, 
arrayed in his pontificals and bearing the cross in his 
hand, in the hope that by such an appearance he might 
awe those who had ventured to become his judges ; but 
at the entreaty of some Templars, whom he highly re- 
garded, he reluctantly gave up this and went on horse- 
back, wearing his ordinary dress, but secretly carrying 
the consecrated Eucharist on his person. b As he passed 
along the streets of Northampton, crowds of people, sup- 
posing that he was on his way to certain death, pros- 
trated themselves, and with prayers and tears besought 
his blessing. The great gates of the castle were opened 
at his approach, and were hastily shut again as soon as he 
had entered. The Archbishop dismounted in the court, 
took his cross from the bearer, Alexander Llewellyn, and 
entered, attended by a single clerk, the doors imme- 
diately closing behind him. c The prelates who were 
assembled in the hall, on seeing him with the cross 
in his hand, were alarmed, as it appeared to them a sign 
that he intended to brave the King and to claim for 
himself the character of a champion of Christ against the 

expressly devoted to it ; and the 
writer usually, there and else- 
where, speaks of himself, like St. 
John, as "the disciple which wrote 
these things." 

a vii. 142. (Ezek. i. 10.) 

b Koger, i. 136 ; Fitzst., i. 225 ; 

Herb., vii. 142-3; Garnier, 37. 
Modern writers, however, have for 
the most part followed less accu- 
rate authorities, who represent him 
as having retained his pontificals. 
c Koger, i. 136 ; Fitzst., i. 223. 

A.D. 1164. 



power and the violence of His enemies.* The Bishop of 
Hereford requested leave to carry the cross as his chap- 
lain ; but the offer was declined. " My Lord of London," 
said the Archdeacon of Lisieux b to Foliot, " why do you 
allow him to carry the cross himself?" "My good 
friend," was the answer, " he was always a fool, and will 
always be one." c Foliot, however, endeavoured to wrest 
the cross from the Archbishop's hands, saying that it was 
his own privilege, as dean of the province, to carry it ; 
and a somewhat unseemly struggle ensued, in which 
Becket, being the younger and the stronger man, had 
the better. " Brother," said the Bishop of Winchester, 
" let the Archbishop keep his cross ; for it is right that 
he should carry it." To this Foliot made an angry 
answer ; and, when the Archbishop had taken his seat, 
with the cross in his hands, he again urged him to lay it 
down, lest the King should regard it as a sword drawn 
against him. Becket replied that the King's sword was 
an instrument of war, but the cross a sign of peace, and 
therefore he would not let it go. d 

Roger of York was the last prelate who entered the 
hall, having delayed his appearance in order that he 
might not be supposed to have been concerned in ad- 
vising the King's proceedings. His cross was borne 
before him an order which Becket had obtained from 

a S. T. C., iv. 257. 

b Hugh of Nunant. He after- 
wards forsook Becket, and in 1187 
became bishop of Lichfield. See 
Herbert, vii. 364. There is a life 
of him in the ' Anglia Sacra.' 

c Fitzst, i. 225. Others repre- 
sent these words as spoken directly 
to Becket. 

d Koger, i. 137 ; Alan, i. 346 ; 
Gamier, 38-9; Herb., vii. 143; 
Gervase, 1392 ; Hoveden, 283. 


the Pope, that he should not use it beyond his own 
province, being for the present eluded by an appeal.* 
Koger, in an angry tone, renewed the remonstrances 
which had been made against the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury's cross, and advised him to lay it down, lest the 
King should be provoked. " If the King's sword can 
kill the body," said Becket, "my sword smites spiri- 
tually, and can send the soul to hell." b 

The King, on hearing how the Archbishop was armed, 
had withdrawn into an inner room, where he remained 
throughout the day. The bishops and nobles were 
summoned into his presence, and Becket was left in the 
hall, deserted and shunned by all but two or three of 
his clerks. From the King's chamber there was a con- 
tinual sound of loud and angry voices, and when from 
time to time the door of communication was opened, 
that some of those from within might descend into the 
hall, the noise was so terrible that the Archbishop and 
his companions crossed themselves by way of seeking 
protection. 11 Herbert took an opportunity of suggesting 
that, if any violence should be attempted, the Arch- 
bishop should resort to excommunication; but Fitz- 
stephen reproved this counsel, and desired him rather to 
imitate the saints and martyrs of old in patient en- 
durance and forgiveness of injuries. In saying this, he 
was interrupted by one of the King's officers, who told 
him that he must not speak to the Archbishop ; where- 

a Fitzst., i. 226 ; Alex, ad Thorn. 

in S. T. C., iv. 8 ; ad Koger. ib. 44. 

b Grim, i. 43 ; Hoveden, 283 6. 

c Gervase, 1392. 
d Herb., vii. 145. 

A.D. 1164. 



upon he significantly pointed to the cross an action of 
which he was long after reminded when he visited his 
master in exile at Fleury. a 

On the entrance of the bishops into his apartment, 
the King complained of the injury which the Archbishop 
had done him by coming to his Court as if it were that 
of a traitor and a persecutor rather than of a Christian 
sovereign. The bishops hastened to clear themselves 
from the suspicion of any complicity in this or the Pri- 
mate's other proceedings? They told the King that 
Becket had rebuked them for joining in judgment 
against him ; that he complained of the fine of 500/. as 
unjust, seeing that custom had fixed in every county a 
rate of commutation for goods and chattels forfeited to 
the King's mercy, and in Kent, where the property of 
his see lay, this composition was only forty shillings ; 
that he had forbidden them to take any further part in 
the proceedings against him, and had appealed to the 
Pope. On hearing this, Henry sent the Earls of Lei- 
cester and Cornwall to ask the Archbishop whether it 
were true that he had acted so, in violation of his alle- 
giance to the Crown, and especially of his oath to ob- 
serve the Constitutions of Clarendon, by which, among 
other things, the bishops were bound to attend the King 
in all trials except such as involved life. The Earls 
were also charged to inquire whether he would give in 

a Fitzst, i. 226-7. 

b Herb., vii. 144. The impu- 
tation on the King implied in car- 
rying the cross was afterwards 
insisted on by Henry's envoys to 

the Pope (K. Wendover, ii. 307), 
and by Foliot in the letter which 
has been often mentioned (S. T. C., 
v. 279). 


the accounts of his Chancellorship, and would abide a 
judgment in that matter. The Archbishop, sitting with 
the cross in his hands, heard the message, and replied to 
it with calmness that he had always been faithful to his 
duty as the King's liegeman ; that he had been cited to 
answer as to the affair of John the Marshal alone, and 
ought not to have been called on to defend himself 
against any other charge ; that he had served the King 
faithfully in secular offices, had spent all the revenues 
in his service, and had even contracted debts for it; 
that he had received a full acquittance from all secular 
obligations at the time of his election ; a that he had 
made his appeal against being judged by the bishops, 
and would keep to it, placing himself and the Church 
under the protection of the Pope. The Earls withdrew, 
and some of the barons and courtiers, with significant 
looks and tones, began to talk loudly, so that the Arch- 
bishop might hear, of oppressions and barbarous acts 
which had been committed by the King's ancestors on 
both sides against contumacious ecclesiastics. b 

The King endeavoured to force the bishops to join in 
judging the Primate, but they pleaded the prohibition 
which had been laid on them. Henry's exasperation 
became more and more outrageous, so that even the 
Archbishop's enemies were alarmed for the conse- 
quences. Koger of York left the council chamber, and, 

a Hoveden makes him say also ! that, on hearing Becket's refusal 
that he had often given in his to give an account, the King 
accounts (283 6) ; but this seems " D'i re deuint vermeilz plus que carbuns 
to be a mistake. sur cendre." 

b Fitzst., i. 230-2 ; Koger, i. 134. (44.) 

c Gervase, 1392. Gamier says , 


on reaching the hall, said to two of his chaplains whom 
he found there, " Let us withdraw ; for it is not fit that 
we should look on what is to be done here as to him of 
Canterbury." One of the chaplains, however, replied 
that he would wait to see what God's will should deter- 
mine ; that the end could not be better than if the 
Primate were to give his blood for the right. a Roger 
then turned to Becket himself, and entreated him for 
the sake of the other bishops to comply with the King's 
will. " Hence, Satan ! " was the only answer. b Others 
of the bishops also attempted to prevail on the Primate, 
but found his resolution immoveable. c 

At length an expedient was devised by which the 
bishops might escape the necessity of joining in the 
judgment. The King agreed to excuse them on con- 
dition that they should appeal to the Pope against the 
Primate for perjury a measure by which some of them 
led him to believe that Becket's deposition might be 
procured.* 1 They then returned to the hall, and Hilary 
of Chichester, in the name of all, told the Archbishop 
that, as he and they had pledged themselves to the con- 
stitutions, and as he had now violated his oath, they 
regarded him as perjured, renounced their obedience to 
him, and appealed against him. 6 " I hear what you 
say," answered Becket, "and, with God's blessing, I 
will be present at the trial of your appeal." There was 
some curious casuistry in the words which followed. 

a Alan, i. 347. 
b Gamier, 44. 
c Alan, i. 347. 

Gamier, 42; Herb., vii. 146; 

Gervas., 1392. 
e Gervas., 1392. 


The first of all duties, he said, is that which we owe to God. 
The concessions which he and the bishops had made at 
Clarendon implied by their very terms a reservation of the 
Church's rights, since nothing against these could be ob- 
served " in good faith," " without evil device," or " loy- 
ally ;" nor could an infringement of the Church's privi- 
leges be part of the " dignities " of a Christian king. The 
Pope had sent back the constitutions rather with repro- 
bation than with approbation.* " If," he continued, " we 
fell at Clarendon, we ought now to rise again ; if we there 
swore wrongly, unlawful oaths are not to be observed." b 
In the mean time the barons had determined that, as 
the Archbishop had refused to abide a trial in the King's 
Court, his contumacy must be punished with imprison- 
ment: and, as the bishops took their seats on the side 
of the hall opposite to the Archbishop, the Earl of 
Leicester, at the head of a body of nobles and others, 
entered to pronounce the sentence. The Earl advanced 
until he reached the place where the Archbishop was 
sitting, but Becket did not rise to receive him, and 
regarded him with a haughty look. Speaking slowly, 
and with evident unwillingness, from a recollection of 
their former friendship, the Earl recounted the benefits 
which Becket had received from the King, and the 
unworthy return which he had made. " Hear, then," he 
said, "your sentence." "Nay, son Earl," interrupted 
Becket, "do you first hear me." He repeated his ob- 
jections to the proceedings against him, and declared 

8 " Potius improbatse quam ap- I b Fitzst., i. 235 ; Garnier, 41. 
probate." Fitzst., i. 235. I c Hoveden, 283 6. 

A.D. 1164. 



that, even if laymen might judge a bishop, no sentence 
could be pronounced on one who had appealed to a 
higher tribunal. "What?" asked the Earl, "how can 
you decline the King's judgment, since you hold your 
estates from him in fee and barony ? " "I hold nothing 
in fee or barony," was the answer ; " but whatever the 
Church has, she holds in free and perpetual alms, with- 
out being subject to any earthly dominion." And he 
went on to declare, that, as much as the soul is more pre- 
cious than the body, so much and far more was. the Earl 
bound to obey God and him rather than any earthly 
sovereign ; that the priesthood is superior to royalty as 
much as gold to lead ; a that as the son must not condemn 
the father, he declined all judgment from a secular tri- 
bunal, and charged the Earl in God's name, under pain of 
anathema, to proceed no further, since he had appealed 
to the Pope, who alone was competent to judge him. b 

Eaising his crosier aloft, he proceeded slowly to leave 
the chamber, followed by Herbert of Bosham. c A 
tumult of voices arose in mockery and reproach. Among 
the foremost of his assailants were Kanulph de Broc, 

a Since Gregory VII.'s time, the 
ingenuity of the hierarchical party 
had been exercised in finding illus- 
trations of the superiority of eccle- 
siastical over temporal power. 
Becket retails Gregory's expres- 
sions as to this, with the instances 
(partly fabulous) by which they 
were enforced. (S. T. C., iii. 373-4.) 
Gregory declared the two powers to 
be the work of God and the devil 
respectively. (Hardouin, vi. 1471.) 
Honorius of Autun regards Abel 

as a type of ecclesiastical authority, 
and Cain of secular. (De Apos- 
tolico et Augusto, c. 1, Patrol., 

b Grim, i. 47 ; Eoger, i. 141 ; 
Fitzst., i. 235 ; Alan, i. 348 ; Herb., 
vii. 147; Gamier, 44-5; Hove- 
den, 283 b ; Gervas., 1393. Foliot 
strongly argues that in a secular 
cause the Archbishop ought not 
to have declined the King's judg- 
ment. (S. T. C., v. 275, seqq.) 

c Herb., vii. 148. 




and Earl Hamelin, the King's bastard brother, who cried 
out that he was going away as a traitor. At this, the Arch- 
bishop's impatient temper broke loose. He reminded 
De Broc that one of his near relations had been hanged 
(a misfortune, says one of the biographers, which had 
never befallen any of the Beckets a ) ; and to Hamelin 
he applied the most hateful terms, adding that, but for 
his orders, he would prove him a liar in single combat. 
From the council chamber the Archbishop passed into 
the hall, where many of the King's servants and persons 
of inferior condition were collected. A pile of firewood 
lay in the way, and against this he incautiously struck 
his foot, so that he had difficulty in saving himself from 
a fall. Immediately the uproar became louder than 
before. Cries of " Perjured ! " " Traitor ! " " Stay and 
hear your judgment ! " with hootings and yells of insult, 
sounded from every side ; the way was hindered by the 
crowd; wisps of the straw with which the floor was 
covered, and other light missiles, were thrown at him. 
" The clamour of abuse and tumult," says Grim, " was no 
less than if the four quarters of a city were on fire, or 
entered by an enemy." It seemed as if the Archbishop 
might be torn in pieces, when the King, who had been 
informed of the scene which was passing, sent orders 
that he should be suffered to depart without hindrance. 
In the courtyard the Archbishop mounted his horse, 
but on reaching the outer gate of the castle a new 
difficulty occurred, the gate was locked, and the porter 

Will. Cant., ii. 13. The bio- 
graphers in general say nothing of 
Beckct's answers to De Broc and 

Hamelin. According to Gamier, 
" Le sainz huem ne dist mot, nui;> a' unit 
s'en ala." :6. 

A.I). 1164. NORTHAMPTON. 129 

had quitted his post. a In this emergency, however, the 
attendant who had been holding the horse observed a 
large bunch of keys hanging near the gate, and, either 
by miraculously choosing the right key at once, b or by 
trying them one after another until he found it (for 
both accounts are given by various biographers), he 
opened the gate, and the Archbishop issued forth. d 
Immediately after, a herald appeared, commanding, in 
the King's name, and under pain of death, that no 
violence or insult should be oifered to him, a command 
which Foliot, in reproaching Becket with his ingratitude 
to Henry, compares to David's charge, " Deal gently 
with the young man Absalom." e 

The multitude without the castle, who had been 
anxiously waiting for the result of the day, and had 
even supposed the Archbishop to be already killed/ 
received him with enthusiasm. He rode through the 
crowded streets, with his cross in his hand, bestowing 
his benediction as he passed. 8 On reaching St. Andrew's 
monastery, he entered the chapel, and, as the hour of 
nones was passed, he celebrated that office and vespers 
together; 11 after which, having deposited his crosier 
beside the altar of St. Mary, he proceeded to the refec- 

a Gervase tells us that he was 
busy in beating a boy. (1393.) 

b Koger, i. 142 ; Gamier, 47. 

c Alan, i. 349. 

d Grim, i. 47-8 ; Roger, i. 142 ; 
Fitzst. i. 236. 

e Fitzst., i. 236 ; Foliot, iii. 280 ; 
Hoved., 284 ; Gamier, 46*. 

f Alan, i. 349. 

g Fitzstepuen seems to say that 

he took up Herbert of Bosham be- 
hind him. " Suum ascendens, ma- 
gistrum Herbertum, qui equum 
proprium, propter pressuram ni- 
miain, tarn cito habere non poterat, 
secum ad hospitium transvexit." 
(i. 236.) But Herbert himself 
says, "cum essemus in equis" (vii. 
h Roger, i. 143 ; Gamier, 46. 



tory. Here he was waited on by many members of his 
household knights and youths of gentle birth, who, in 
fear of the King's anger, requested with a mixture of 
grief and shame that they might be released from his 
service ; and, having obtained his consent, they left him. a 
These, says Herbert, might be excused, as laymen, and 
therefore more within reach of the King's indignation ; 
but he and others of the biographers reflect severely 
on the learned clerks, as many as forty in number, who, 
having been entertained by the Archbishop in his pros- 
perity, deserted him, " swallow-like," on the approach of 
the storm. b As the usual companions of his table had 
disappeared, the Archbishop (of course with an intended 
reference to the parables) ordered the crowd from with- 
out to be called in, and entertained as many of them as 
could find room. His demeanour a,t supper was cheerful, 
and he addressed to his attendants a few words of exhor- 
tation on the duty of enduring insults quietly. " It is," 
he said, " the mark of a higher character to bear such 
things, and of a lower to do them. As they are masters 
of their tongues, so are we masters of our ears. It is 
not against me that evil is spoken, but against Him who 
takes note of the evil as spoken against himself." c In 
the passage of the ' Tripartite History,' which according 
to the custom of the time was read during the meal, a 
persecuted bishop was represented as quoting the text 
" When they persecute you in one city, flee ye to 
another;" and at the moment the eyes of the Arch- 

Fitzst., i. 237. b Herb., i. 149 ; Koger, i. 136. 

c Fitzst., I 236 ; Roger, i. 143. 

A.D. 1164. 



bishop met those of Herbert, as if the words suggested 
the same thought to both. a 

Before the end of the meal the Bishops of London 
and Chiehester appeared, and proposed that the Arch- 
bishop should make his peace by resigning to the King 
for a time the manors of Otford and Mundeham. He 
replied that the King already had one manor which 
rightfully belonged to the Church of Canterbury, and 
that, rather than resign even his claim to that manor, he 
was willing to expose his head (which he touched as he 
spoke) to any hazard. 13 He then sent the Bishops of 
Eochester, Hereford, and Worcester to request the 
King's safe conduct for his return to Canterbury, and 
permission to go abroad. These envoys found Henry 
in good humour, but he deferred his answer until the 
morrow ; and late in the evening Becket was informed 
by two great noblemen (probably the Earls who have 
been already often named) with the strongest protesta- 
tions of their truth, that some powerful and audacious 
men had conspired his death. d Everything seemed to 
point to the expediency of flight. 

The Archbishop signified his intention of spending the 
night in the chapel ; his bed was prepared behind the 
high altar, and the monks, on going to sing the 

a Herb., vii. 150, says that the 
passage was the account of the 
persecution of Pope Liberius. The 
text in question, however, is not 
quoted there, but by the Arian 
Bishop Demophilus, on being 
turned out of Constantinople by 
Theodosius. Cassiodor. Hist. Trip., 

ix. 10. 

b Alan, i. 350. 

c One writer speaks of return 
to Canterbury ; another of " egres- 
suin de terra." Fitzst., i. 237 ; 
Alan, i. 350 ; Herb., vii. 150. 

d Joh. Sarisb. S. T. C., i. 330. 





compline office, saw him apparently asleep. a But while 
these things were done to prevent suspicion, the means 
of escape were provided ; horses were in waiting without 
the walls of the monastery; and in the middle of a 
dark and stormy night he passed through the unguarded 
north gate of Northampton.* 

Gamier, 48. 

b Koger, i. 144. For defences of 
his flight see Joh. Sarisb. in S. T. 

C., i. 330 ; Anon. Lambeth., ii. 
98 ; Joh. Sarisb. Opera, ed. Giles, 
ii. 82 ; Buss, 325. 

A.D.1164. ( 133 ) 



THE Archbishop was accompanied in his flight by two 
monks of Sempringham and by one of his own lay 
domestics.* After having ridden about five-and-twenty 
miles, in rain so heavy that Becket's clothes were 
saturated with water, and he was fain to lessen the 
weight of his cloak by twice cutting off the lower part of 
it, they rested for some hours at a village which is 
called by the biographers Graham or Grabam ; b and early 
on the following morning they entered the city of Lincoln, 
where they found lodgings at the house of one James, a 
fuller by trade, who was " known to the brethren." c 
Here the Archbishop disguised himself in a monastic 
dress, and assumed the name of Brother Christian, or 
Dearman. d From Lincoln he descended the Witham 

Eoger, i. 144. See Ap- 
pendix XVIII. 

b Koger, i. 145 ; Herb., vii. 162 ; 
Gervase, 1393. The editor of 
Kobert of Gloucester inserts in 
brackets the letters nt in the 
middle of the word Graham; but 
the position of Grantham does not 
very well agree with the descrip- 
tion. Perhaps Greetham, near 

Oakham, or Grett&n, may be 

c Grim, i. 48 ; Herb., vii. 162. 
The word fullonis becomes in the 
printed Gervase (1393) Fukonis, as 
if it were a proper name, while in 
the Quadrilogue (63) and in Dr. 
Giles's edition of Alan (S. T. C., i. 
351) it iafelonis! 

d Both names are given. Bober 




about forty miles, to a lonely hermitage among the 
fens, belonging to the monks of Sempringham, a where 
he remained three days for the purpose of recruiting his 
strength ; and in the mean time measures were taken 
to facilitate his farther progress. Travelling by an 
unusual route, and chiefly during the night, he was 
received by a succession of friendly monks who had 
been secretly warned of his coming ; and at length he 
reached Eastry, near Sandwich, a manor belonging to 
the monastery of Christchurch in Canterbury. b At this 
place he waited a week for the means of passing over to 
the Continent ; and we are told that a small opening 
was made from his chamber into the church, so that 
without being seen he was able to share in the offices, 
to see the elevation of the Host, to receive the pax from 
a clerk who was in the secret, and to bestow his blessing 
on the people. 

On All Souls' day, before daybreak, he embarked at 
Sandwich in a little boat managed by two 
priests, and in the evening he reached the 
opposite coast. d On the same day a party of bishops 
and others, whom the King had commissioned to plead 
his cause with the Pope, crossed the sea from Dover. 

Nov. 2. 

of Gloucester is amusing on the 
change of name : 

" Forth rod this holi man 
As a frere, and let him clepen Frere 


For he nolde lie nozt; Christene he was, 
And he was adrad to beon ikuowe if me 

clipede him Thomas." 59. 

* It is called by the biogra- 
phers Haverolot, which seems to 

mean Haverholme. See the Mo- 
nasticon, vi. 949. 

b Koger, i. 145-6; Herb., vii. 
162-3 ; Gamier, 49-50 ; Gervase, 
1393 ; Hoveden, 283, b. 

c Alan, 352 ; Gervase, 1393 ; 
K. Glouc., 58. 

d Joh. Sarisb. in S. T. C., i. 330. 
See Appendix XIX. 

A.D. 1164. 



The biographers tell us that, while the Saint found the 
water delightfully calm, his enemies were tossed about 
by a violent tempest, so that Foliot in terror threw off his 
cloak and hood a contrast which brings to Herbert's 
mind the exemption of Israel from the Egyptian 
plagues. a Into the probability of this story it is needless 
to inquire ; but we may learn something as to Herbert's 
veracity from the fact that, in a passage which he seems 
to have forgotten, he had already described the Arch- 
bishop as having suffered from the roughness of the 
voyage ; b nor can there be any doubt that, if the 
contrast had been reversed, an explanation favourable 
to the great hierarchical hero would equally have been 
put on it. c 

The Archbishop did not yet consider himself out of 
danger. The news of his flight had by this time spread, 
and every traveller from England was naturally looked 
on with suspicion. The Count of Boulogne was to be 
dreaded, because Becket, while Chancellor, had on 
religious grounds opposed his marriage with King 
Stephen's daughter, the Abbess of Romsey, who by the 
death of her brothers had become heiress to that county. d 

Fitzst. i. 238; Herb., vii. 169. 

b vii. 163. 

c The inference of the bio- 
graphers, for instance, is very 
different when they have to relate 
the speedy passage of the Arch- 
bishop's murderers to England. 
Quadr., iii. 12. 

d See Alex. III.,Ep. 114 (Patrol., 
cc.) ; Herb., vii. 166. It is to the 

part which Henry took in this 
marriage of a nun that the Afflig- 
hem continuer of Sigebert traces 
the troubles of his latter years 
(Patrol., clx. 291). The Countess, 
after having borne two children, 
returned to the monastic life 
' ' uude invita discesserat. ' ' Rob. de 
Monte, ib. 511. 




The Count of Flanders and the other chiefs of the 
country had already received letters from Henry, de- 
siring them to aid him in seizing the " traitor." a It 
seemed well, therefore, to avoid the ports, and the 
fugitives landed on the sand, about a league from 
G-ravelines. The Archbishop, unused to walking on 
rough ground, and encumbered by his long dress 
and clumsy monkish shoes, stumbled, fell, and cut his 
hands ; whereupon he lay down on the ground, de- 
claring himself weary and unable to go any farther. 
A boy was sent to the next village in quest of a 
horse, and the length of his absence gave occasion for 
all manner of apprehensions. At last, however, he 
returned, bringing with him a beast such as Father 
Blackhal would have styled " a lasche jadde," b and with 
no other equipment than a halter made of hay. The 
monks spread their cloaks by way of a saddle, and the 
Archbishop mounted ; but after riding a little as 
Johnson gave up talking French to Paoli on " finding 
that he did not do it with facility," he judged it 
" easier and more respectable" d to betake himself to his 
feet again. 

Various other incidents of his journey are related 

Herb., vii. 166. 

b Gilbert Blackhal, a Eoman 
Catholic priest of Scotch birth 
and French education in the seven- 
teenth century, wrote ' A Brief 
Narration of the Services done to 
three Noble Ladies,' which was 
printed for the Spalding Club, 
Aberdeen, 1844. This had lately 
been noticed in the ' English 

Keview' at the time when the 
articles on Becket were written ; 
and I have retained the mention 
of Blackhal here, because it may 
possibly be the means of directing 
some reader to a very amusing and 
curious book. 

c Boswell, iii. 82, ed. 1835. 

d " Tolerabilius et honestius." 
Roger, i. 146-7. 


how, as he was passing through a town, a woman struck 
with his appearance, and compassionating his evident 
weariness, rushed into her house, and returned to 
present him with a stick which, although sooty, greasy, 
and scorched, from having been employed for drying 
fish in a chimney, he accepted graciously, and gladly 
made use of; a how he was near betraying himself by 
the interest with which he looked at a falcon on a young 
knight's wrist a relapse into his earlier tastes for which 
Alan supposes that the ex-Chancellor may have suffi- 
ciently atoned by the anxiety to which it exposed him ; b 
how, at a hostelry where he spent a night, the landlord 
discovered him, although he took no precedence of his 
companions, by his lofty and noble look, the whiteness 
of his long and slender hands, and the air with which 
he distributed morsels from his plate to the children of 
the house; how the landlady, being informed of her 
husband's suspicions, began to distinguish " Brother 
Christian " above her other guests by especially waiting 
on him, and placing apples, nuts, and cheese before 
him; and how the Saint had much ado to keep the 
worthy couple from indiscreetly betraying his secret to 
others, who might have been less disposed to reverence 
him. At length the party reached the Cistercian mo- 

Koger, i. 147. 

b " Forte timor ille hujus vani- 
tatis culpam ipso tempore potuit 
diluere." The Knight said, 
" Either that is the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, or some one very 
like him." "Do you think that 
Archbishops of Canterbury tramp 

in this style ? " asked some one ; 
but the question is variously as- 
cribed to the Knight's companion, 
to one ofBecket's companions, and 
to the Archbishop himself. Koger, 
i. 147; Fitzst. i. 238; Alan, i. 

See Appendix XX. 




nastery of Clair-Marais ; but feeling themselves still 
insecure, they left this place by night in a boat, and 
proceeded onward to a cell on a little island, belonging 
to the abbey of Sithiu or St. Bertin. a Here they were 
joined by Herbert of Bosham, who had been charged 
by Becket at Northampton to repair to Canterbury and 
endeavour to secure some portion of the archiepiscopal 
rents, which were then in course of payment. The 
King, however, had lost no time in ordering that the 
Primate's property should be placed under custody, as 
the pending appeals to the Pope prevented a confisca- 
tion ; and Herbert had only been able to lay hands on 
a hundred marks, with some silver plate. b After having 
spent three days at the cell, the Archbishop removed, at 
the abbot's invitation, to the great abbey of St. Bertin, 6 
which was close to the town of St. Omer ; and as his 
arrival there took place on a Wednesday, he carried 
with him a large fish, which had miraculously jumped 
out of the water into his bosom, in order that the arrival 
of the party might not press too heavily on the fast-day 
provisions of their hosts. d 

Sixty-seven years before, Anselm of Canterbury had 
visited St. Bertin's, when driven from England for a 
cause which was identified with that of Becket under 
the name of the Church's liberty ; e and in the same 

a Chron. Sithiense, ap. Bouquet, 
xiv. 473 ; Alan, i. 353 ; Herb. vii. 

b Herb., vii. 151, 167-8. 

c Chron. Sith., 1. c. 

d Alan, i. 353. Mr. Buss is so 

indifferent a " Catholic " as to omit 
this miracle; not so Mr. Morris, 

e Eadmer, Vita Anselmi, p. 19, 
ap. Anselm. ed. Gerberon ; Annales 
de Marg., A.D. 1103, ap. Gale, ii. 

A.D. 1164. 



monastery Theobald had since found a refuge when 
banished for attending a papal council in defiance of 
King Stephen's command.* At St. Bertin's the Arch- 
bishop had an interview with the Grand Justiciary De 
Luci, who, during the late troubles, had been engaged 
on a pilgrimage to Compostella, and was now returning 
by an indirect way, for the sake of transacting some 
business for his master with the King of France and 
the Count of Flanders. b This old friend strongly urged 
him to return to England, and undertook to make his 
peace with the King ; but finding his advice ineffectual, 
he became angry; and told the Archbishop that he 
must no longer reckon on his support. " You owe me 
homage," said Becket, " and must not speak to me in 
this style." " I return you my homage," answered 
De Luci. " I did not give it to you as a loan," rejoined 
the Archbishop ; and on these terms they parted. 

In the mean time Henry's envoys, the Earl of Arundel, 
the Bishop of London, and Kichard of Ilchester, arch- 
deacon of Poitiers, who were charged with a letter re- 
questing that the fugitive might not be harboured in 
France, had an audience of the French King at Com- 
piegne. Louis VII. had in his earlier days come roughly 
into collision with the Church by invading the right of 

Gervase, 1364. 

b Fitzstepben says merely, " a 
domino rege Francorum rediens " 
(i. 239) ; Grim and Koger state 
that he was on a mission to the 
Count of Flanders (i. 49, 147). I 
have combined these statements 
with Garnier's 

" De saint Jame par Flandres sun 
chemin acuilli." 

(p. 51), which accounts for the 
non-occurrence of the Justiciary's 
name at Northampton. 

c Grim, i. 49; Koger, i. 148; 
Gamier, 81. 




election to bishoprics, and otherwise,* and had once 
been placed under a solemn interdict. His character, 
however, had undergone a change, and, from the time 
of the disastrous crusade in which he embarked at the 
instance of Pope Eugene and St. Bernard, while his 
reputation as a Sovereign had sunk, his devotion to the 
Church had become more and more submissive and super- 
stitious. His rivalry to Henry b and his religious feelings 
combined to engage him in the interest of Becket. Soon 
after the breaking out of the troubles he had sent an 
assurance to the Archbishop that, if his fortunes should 
take him into France, he might reckon on being received 
" not as a Bishop or an Archbishop, but as a partner of 
his kingdom ;" and Becket, in thanking him, had pro- 

See St. Bernard's strong lan- 
guage against him, Epp. 224, 226. 

b John of Salisbury writes from 
France to the Archbishop a little 
before the Council of Northamp- 
1 ton : " Regem nostrum Franci 
timent pariter et oderunt, sed 
tamen quod ad illos quieto et 
alto somno dormire potest." (Ep. 
134, col. 114.) Walter Mapes 
mentions a curious conversation 
with Louis : " Contigit ut cum 
rege moram facerem aliquamdiu 
Parisius, mecumque tractaret de 
regum divitiis, inter sermones alios 
dixit, Quia sicut diversae sunt re- 
gum opes, ita multis distinctse sunt 
varietatibus. In lapidibus pretio- 
sis, leonibus et pardis et elephantis, 
divitise regis Indorum ; in auro 
pannisque sericis imperator Bizan- 
ciis et rex Siculus gloriantur ; sed 

homines non habent qui sciunt aliud 
quam loqui; rebus enim bellicis 
inepti sunt. Imperator Bomanus, 
quern dicunt Alemannorum, ho- 
mines habet armis aptos et equos 
bellicos, non aurum, non sericum, 
non aliam opulentiam. Karolus 
enim magnus, cum terram illam a 
Saracenis conquisisset, omnia prae- 
ter munitiones et castella pro 
Christo dedit archiepiscopis et 
episcopis, quos per civitates con- 
versus instituit. Dominus autein 
tuus, rex Anglise, cui nihil deest, 
homines, equos, aurum, et sericum, 
gemmas, et fructus et feras et 
omnia possidet. 'Nos in Francia 
nihil habemus nisi panem et vinum 
et gaudium." De Nugis Curia- 
lium, 215-6. 

c iv. 253. Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 134, 
col. 113, c. 

A.D. 1164. 



tested that, next to the King of England, there was " no 
mortal man in whom he more trusted for good, and 
honour, and support." a The King's behaviour to the 
English ambassadors was a strong declaration as to the 
part which he was resolved to take. When their master's 
letter was read, in which Thomas was designated as 
" late Archbishop of Canterbury " b " Who then," said 
Louis, " has deposed him? I am a King as well as the 
King of England ; but I should have no power to depose 
the meanest clerk in my dominions." To the demand 
that he should give Becket up, in compliance with an 
agreement between the two Sovereigns for mutual sur- 
render of fugitives, he answered that he knew of no such 
agreement, but that, if one existed, it could not imply 
the delivery of the Archbishop, who was not the English 
King's vassal, but rather his lord and patron. The Earl 
of Arundel c reminded the King of the damage which 
Becket had done to France in the war of Toulouse ; but 
Louis replied that in this the Chancellor had acted as a 
faithful servant of his Sovereign, who had since requited 
him most unworthily. And at last, when the envoys 
requested him to write to the Pope, desiring him not to 
favour Becket, he not only refused, but despatched a 
messenger with a request that Alexander would show his 
love for him by treating the banished Archbishop with 
love. d 

iii. 383. 

b " Qui Cantuariensis fuit Archi- 
episcopus." Bouquet, xvi. 107. The 
letter does not appcur to be in Dr. 
Giles's collection. 

c William de Albini, who had 
married the widow of Henry I. 

d Grim, i. 50-1 ; Eoger, i. 149-50 ; 
Herb. vii. 171 ; Gamier, 53-4. 




From Compiegne the envoys, reinforced by Eoger of 
York, the Bishops of Chichester and Exeter, and others, 
proceeded to the court of the Pope at Sens ; but so strong 
was the general feeling in favour of Becket (for Henry 
was popularly believed abroad to have usurped the whole 
administration of the Church) a that the prelates of the 
party thought it well to disguise themselves as members 
of the Earl of Arundel's household. 15 

Herbert of Bosham and another of Becket's train were 
appointed to watch the movements of the Ambassadors 
and to counteract their efforts. They arrived at Com- 
piegne a day later, and were received by Louis with 
the most gratifying affability and sympathy. " The 
King of England," he said, " ought, before treating such 
a friend and so eminent a person as the Archbishop 
so harshly, to have remembered the verse ' Be ye angry, 
and sin not/" "Perhaps, Sir," said Herbert's com- 
panion, " he would have remembered it if he had heard 
it as often as we have done in church." At this sally 

a The chronicler of St. Bertin's 
says that, with the assent of " Ro- 
derick" of York, the Bishop of 
London, and Richard, Archdeacon 
of Poitiers [all members of this 
legation], with all his barons, 
Henry, " contra jus fasque pro 
suis gratibus omnem dignitatem 
et ecclesiastic* disciplines cen- 
suram sibi violenter usurpavit." 
(A.D. 3064. Bouquet, xiv. 473.) 
Another chronicler says that the 
Archbishop was banished " propter 
veritatem et mansuetudinem et 
justitiam " (Andr. Marcianensis, 

ib. 422) ; and the historian of 
Vezelay, "Contigit ut [Thomas] 
usurpanti regi in morem Ozise 
jura ecclesiastica velut alter Jonas 
[Azarias?] constanter restiterit." 
(Patrol, cxciv. 1644.) 

b Fitzstephen, 240. Grim and 
Roger say that the first mission 
returned from the King of France, 
and that Henry then sent a second 
to the Pope. (i. 51, 151.) But this 
seems very unlikely, and more espe- 
cially as the first envoys were all 
included in the legation to the 


the King condescended to smile, and he dismissed the 
messengers with an assurance of safety for the Archbishop 
throughout all his dominions, declaring it to be one of 
the " royal dignities " of France to defend the persecuted, 
and especially those who were suffering for the Church. a 

On reaching Sens, Herbert and his companion were 
admitted in the evening to a private interview with the 
Pope, to whom they detailed the course of the Arch- 
bishop's labours, perils, and sufferings. Alexander lis- 
tened with interest, and even with tears. " Your master," 
he said, "although he is yet living in the flesh, may 
claim the privilege of martyrdom." b The following day 
was appointed for the audience of the English King's 
ambassadors, who had arrived at Sens on the day before 
Herbert. The Bishop of London opened the case by 
strongly blaming the Primate for the evils which had 
arisen. In allusion to the flight from Northampton, he 
quoted the text " The wicked fleeth when no man pur- 
sueth." " Spare, brother," said the Pope. " I will spare 
him, my Lord." " I do not mean that you should spare 
him, but yourself," rejoined the Pope : " it is clear that 
without cause you hate and persecute an innocent man ;" 
and so much was Foliot confused by these words, that 
he paused and said no more. 

The next speaker was Hilary of Chichester, whose 
delight in the music of his own eloquence is a subject of 
frequent amusement to the writers of the opposite party. 

* Herb. vii. 172. The speech 
as to royal dignities seems also to 
have done service on other occa- 
sions. See S. T. 0., i. 370 ; iii. 


b Herb. vii. 174. 

c Koger, i. 151 ; Alan, i. 356. 




His grammatical acquirements, however, were not on a 
level with his rhetoric, and the portentous word oportue- 
lat excited the laughter of his hearers. " You have got 
badly into port at last," cried one of them ; and, after a 
vain attempt to recover himself, the unlucky orator broke 
down. a 

The Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Exeter 
followed, and the King's cause was wound up by the 
Earl of Arundel, who avoided an exhibition like that 
which had been made by his diocesan, by speaking in his 
native tongue, the only one which he professed to under- 
stand. His speech, which was marked by skill, vigour, 
and judgment, made a far greater impression than those 
of the ecclesiastics. He reminded the Pope of King 
Henry's good service and attachment; he allowed the 
Archbishop's high merits, and requested that the Pontiff 
would study to restore harmony, for the sake both of the 
Church and of the kingdom. b It was remarked that 
(with the exception of Foliot's mistake) the speakers 
refrained from attacking Becket, and preferred to insist 
on the merits of Henry ; so that, although the Arch- 
bishop's clerks were present, and ready to speak in their 
master's defence, the Pope declared no defence to be 
necessary, inasmuch as nothing had been said against 
him. To the repeated praises of the King, Alexander 
uniformly answered that he was glad to hear so much in 

o Alan, i. 356 ; Herb. viii. 244. 
Gamier' s account of the speeches 
may be quoted 

" Deuant la pape esturent li messagier 

Alquant diseient bien, pluisur diseient 

Li alquant en Latin, tel ben, tel anomal, 
Tel qui fist personel del uerbe imper- 
Singuler eplurelaueit tutparigal." (55.) 

b Alan, i. 356-8; Gervase, 1396. 


his commendation, and that he prayed God to increase 
his virtues. a 

Finding the result of the audience unsatisfactory, the 
ambassadors attempted to gain Alexander by private 
solicitations; but they found him inflexible, although 
they were authorised to make various tempting offers, 
such as that Peter-pence, which had hitherto been 
exacted only from the villeins in England, should in 
future be paid by other classes, and should be secured 
to the see of Borne for ever. b He refused to depose the 
Archbishop or to send him back ; " for," says Herbert, 
" for one to contend in an island against the king of the 
island is as if a chained prisoner were to contend against 
his gaoler." 6 And, although he had promised at the 
public audience to send two cardinals to England, 
agreeably to the desire of Henry, who had reason to 
believe such dignitaries to be not inaccessible to money, 
he absolutely refused to commit to these legates the 
final decision of the matter in dispute ; never, he said, 
would he abdicate his office by granting a commission 
in which the appeal to himself should not be reserved. d 

The ambassadors hurried away from Sens, partly be- 
cause the King's instructions had limited their stay there 
to three days, so that they could not wait, as the Pope 
desired them to do, until they should be able to hold a 
discussion in his presence with Becket himself; and 
partly because they had reason to believe that some 
knights of the neighbourhood, " out of favour to the 

a Fitzst., i. 241. 

b Ib. 

c vii. 176. 

d Eoger, i. 151 ; Alan, i. 358 
Gamier, 56 ; Gervase, 1396. 




Archbishop and of hatred to themselves," as Herbert 
says, had formed a design of attacking and plundering 
them. a On the fourth day after their departure, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury entered the city. From 
St. Bertin's he had sent a request that the Count of 
Flanders would grant him a safe conduct, but the an- 
swer was equivocal or worse, so that, on receiving it, he 
resolved to set out at once and by night. b He was 
accompanied to Soissons by the Abbot of St. Bertin's 
and by Miles, Bishop of Terouanne, a prelate of English 
birth. The French King, on being informed of his 
arrival, waited on him at his lodgings, and pressed on 
him zealous offers of support ; d and now, by the munifi- 
cence of Louis, he appeared with a train of three hun- 
dred horsemen. The advancing and the retiring parties 
had seen each other by the way, on the opposite banks 
of a river, and Guy, Dean of Waltham, had been de- 
tached by the English ambassadors to observe the 
Primate's reception by the Pope. 6 

Alexander IIT. was a Churchman of the highest 
hierarchical school. His views as to the relation of 

Herb., vii. 176 ; Fitzst., i. 251. 
Comp. Giles, Life and Letters, i. 

b Grim, i. 49-50 ; Roger, i. 149 ; 
Gamier, 52. 

c Roger, i. 149 ; Sigeb. Contin. 
Valcellens. in Patrol., clx., 386. 
This Miles was nephew and suc- 
cessor of another of the same name. 
Daunou, who wrote a notice of 
him in the ' Hist. Litt. ' de la 
France ' (xiii. 286-7), was not 
aware of his English birth. 

d Gervase, 1397. 

e Grim, i. 51 ; Fitzst., i. 242 ; 
Herb. vii. 177. It is said that at 
Lille there is a house which boasts 
of having been St. Thomas of 
Canterbury's lodging (whether at 
this time or on his return, does 
not appear), and bears the in- 
scription " Sancto Thomae Can- 
turbiensi, hujus sedis quondam 
hospiti, sit laus, honor, et gloria." 
Digby, Mores Catholic!, x. 369, 
ed. 1. 

A.D. 1164. ALEXANDER III. 147 

sacerdotal and secular power had been memorably ex- 
pressed some years before, when, as legate of his prede- 
cessor Adrian, he exasperated Frederick Barbarossa and 
the princes of Germany by asking, "From whom but 
the Pope does the Emperor hold his crown ? " a He had 
proudly refused the invitation to submit the question of 
his election to a council convened by the Emperor, and in 
consequence of this it was that, while his rival Octavian 
was acknowledged and upheld by Frederick, Alexander 
had been obliged to leave Italy as a fugitive. It was, 
therefore, natural that the Pope's sympathies should be 
with the champion of the clerical immunities, and the 
power of the king in whose dominions he had found an 
asylum contributed to sway him in the same direction. 
There were, however, contrary forces, which acted on 
him with considerable strength. He had reason to fear 
the Emperor and the Antipope ; for, although his ori- 
ginal opponent Octavian, or Victor IV., had died in 
April, 1164, a successor, Guy of Crema, had been 
set up, under the name of Paschal III., and was sup- 
ported by the Imperial influence. A breach with the 
King of England was to be dreaded above all things. 
Henry had been earlier and firmer in his support of 
Alexander than Louis, who, indeed, had been mainly 
secured to that Pope's interest through the influence of 
the English King. b His wealth, which exceeded that of 

a Otto de S. Bias. c. 8, ap. Mura- 
tor. Ber. Italic. Scrip tores, vi. 

b Pet. Bles., Ep. 144, in Patrol., 
ccvi. 1 264 (written in the name of 
Quceii Eleanor, to request the in- 

tervention of Coelestine III. for 
Kichard I. in his captivity). Pagi 
thinks this letter inconsistent with 
one in which Archbishop Theobald 
urges Henry to join Alexander, en 





any other sovereign, was essential to the maintenance of 
the Pope's cause ; and with such considerations, both 
from the past and from the future, to sway him, we may 
imagine the apprehension with which the Pope must 
have learnt that an emissary of Henry had been long at 
the Imperial Court, a and must have heard the hints 
which were broadly uttered by the lay members of the 
late legation, that their master, if provoked, might 
possibly transfer his obedience to Paschal. b Moreover, 
although in their general views Alexander and Becket 
were agreed, they differed widely both in the choice of 
.a primary object and in character. To the English 
Primate the whole cause of the Church seemed to be 
bound up in the struggle for the immunity of the 
English clergy from temporal laws and courts, while the 
Pope was mainly intent on asserting the pretensions of 
the Papacy against the Empire : and whereas the most 
striking characteristic of Becket was the bold impetu- 
osity of his spirit, Alexander's great strength consisted 
in a patient and indomitable tenacity, which, after 
years of exile from Italy, and a far longer term of 
exclusion from his own city, enabled him at length to 
humble the pride of Frederick, not only before the see 
of St. Peter, but before the new-born independence of 
its Lombard allies. Hence, although in other circum- 
stances the Pope might have been ready to act with 

the ground that the French church 
was said to have already acknow- 
ledged him (Job. Sar., Ep. 48; 
Pagi in Baron., xix. 178). But 
Theobald mentions this only as a 

report, and says nothing of the 
French King. 

iv. 254. 

b Herb., vii. 175 ; Milman, iii. 

A.D. 1164. ALEXANDER III. 149 

vigour and steadiness for the maintenance of Becket's 
cause, it is evident that he had been alarmed and 
annoyed by so unseasonable an outbreak of differ- 
ences between the Primate and the King of England. 
Although, therefore, the conduct of Alexander, if we 
limit our view to the controversy which is now before 
us, will probably appear to us vacillating, crooked, 
double, and pusillanimous, a wider consideration may 
perhaps suggest a somewhat more favourable estimate 
of it, and we may even doubt whether, in the same 
circumstances, Becket would have obtained from the 
great hierarch Gregory VII. himself any more constant 
and open support than that which he received from 
Alexander. Yet this is no justification of that policy 
by which Gregory and Alexander alike were ready to 
sacrifice their friends for the sake of their own greater 
objects ; and those writers have indeed undertaken a 
difficult task who feel themselves bound to defend alike 
the tortuous caution of the Pope and the headstrong 
vehemence of the Archbishop. Either Becket was too- 
narrow, or Alexander was too unscrupulous. 

Alexander, on receiving the first reports of the diffi- 
culties in which the English Primate was involved, had 
earnestly exhorted him to patience and conciliation in 
his dealings with the King. a The feelings of the Papal 
Court, soon after the Council of Westminster, are thus 
represented by an emissary of the Archbishop in a 
letter to his master : " They all extol in you that 
courage of which they feel themselves in every way 

Thorn., Epp. 198, 200, &c. 




devoid. They are all in such a state of imbecility 
that they seem to fear God less than men. So much 
are they affrighted by a number of things which have 
happened all at once, that at this time they would not 
dare to offend any prince in any point especially the 
King of England nor, even if they could, would they 
attempt to succour the Church of God, which is in 
danger all over the world." 4 The utmost help that 
could at that time be obtained from the Pope was a 
recommendation of the Archbishop and his Church to 
the prayers of some Cistercian communities. b When, 
however, Becket visited him at Sens, Alexander was 
disposed to take a more decided part. The King of 
France's letter and the imposing cavalcade of three 
hundred were not without their effect on him. 

As the Archbishop approached the city, he was met 
by a number of cardinals on horseback, (although it is 
said that the greater part of those dignitaries had been 
gained by King Henry's money,) and, on his entrance 
into the Pope's presence, Alexander, as formerly at the 
Council of Tours, rose up to receive him. A day or 
two later he was again admitted to an audience for the 
purpose of stating his cause a task which devolved on 

iv. 254. There is a similar 
picture of the papal court, with 
strong allusions to its venality, in 
a letter of John of Salisbury, 
written about the same tune. Ep, 
134, col. 114. 

b S. T. ., iv. 255 ; vi. 248. There 
is among Foliot's epistles (Ep. 378) 
a, strange forgery, purporting to 

be a letter from Alexander in the 
first year of his pontificate, telling 
the King of England, with much 
abuse of Becket, that the Arch- 
bishop is degraded, and urging 
Henry to expel him from the 

c Fitzst., i, 242. 

A,D. 1164. 



the Archbishop ^himself, as his clerks, although there 
were many learned canonists and eloquent speakers 
among them, declined it, out of fear lest they should 
render themselves especially obnoxious to the King. a 
The Pope placed him at his right hand, and, as he was 
about to rise for the purpose of speaking, desired him to 
remain seated. After a short opening, in which he 
declared himself willing to endure anything rather than 
consent to the demands which were made against the 
liberties of the Church, the Archbishop threw him- 
self on his knees, and, instead of the present which 
was customary in such cases, b spread out before the 
Pope the parchment which he had received at Clar- 
endon. The Constitutions were then read aloud, and 
the Pope emphatically expressed his disapproval of 
them. Some, he said, might have been borne with, 
although none were good ; but ten out of the sixteen he 
pronounced abominable, as being contrary to ancient 
canons and to all that was holy, and he anathematized 
all who should observe them. William of Pavia, a 
cardinal who was supposed to be under especial obli- 
gations to the English King and to have planned the 
deposition of Becket, endeavoured to entangle him in 
disputation ; but the Archbishop, whose fluent and ele- 
gant Latin is said to have been no less admirable than 
his readiness in argument, d broke through all his sophis- 
tries "like a spider's web," to the admiration of the 

Koger, i. 152 ; Gamier, 57. 
b Gamier, 57. 

c The Constitutions are given 
by Herbert, in S. T. C., viii. 201, 

with notes of the Pope's approval 
or censure. 

d Gamier, 57-8. 


whole assembly.* The Pope strongly reproved Becket 
for having joined with the other English prelates in 
consenting to the Constitutions, even for a moment : a 
submission, he said, which amounted to renouncing their 
priesthood, and reducing the Church to the condition of 
a bondmaid. But he declared that the Archbishop's 
subsequent conduct had atoned for his passing weakness ; 
" and thus," says Herbert, " having first rebuked him 
with the severity of a father, he dismissed him with the 
sweetness of a mother's consolation." b 

On the following day the Archbishop was again ad- 
mitted to an interview with the Pope. He broke out 
into lamentations over the unhappy condition of the 
Church, and traced all her calamities to his own promo- 
tion, effected as it had been, not by a free canonical 
election, but by the intrusion of royal power. He pro- 
fessed that he had long been weary of his office ; that, 
from a wish not to give a precedent of sacrificing the 
Church's rights in order to appease a prince's anger, 
he had withstood the advice of his brethren who wished 
him to resign it : but that he had only reserved his 
resignation until he should be in the presence of the 
supreme Pontiff,- in whose hands he now placed the 
See of Canterbury, beseeching him to appoint to it a 
successor more capable of benefiting the Church. So 
saying, he drew off the archiepiscopal ring, and delivered 
it to the Pope ; and the tears with which he accompanied 
the action affected all who were present. He then with- 
drew, and the conclave debated as to the acceptance of 

Koger, i. 153. b vii. 181 : cf. Alan, i. 361. 

A.r>. 1164. 



his resignation. Some of the Cardinals "and these," 
says Alan, "were of the Pharisees'^ bribed by the 
King of England, according to other writers regarded it 
as the best means of extricating the Church from the 
difficulties which beset her. But the opposite counsels 
prevailed ; the champion of the Church, it was said, 
ought to be restored, " even if unwilling," and to be 
assisted by all possible means. b And Becket received 
his office anew from the hands of the Pope, a mode of 
appointment which precluded all scruples as to the 
regularity of his former title. Alexander assured him 
of his constant support and sympathy, and commended 
him to the care of the Abbot of Pontigny, a Cistercian 
monastery, about twelve leagues from Sens, which 
appears to have been chosen as a retreat by the Arch- 
bishop himself. d " Hitherto," he said, " you have lived 
in abundance and luxury ; but, that you may learn to 
be in future, as you ought to be, the comforter of the 
poor, and as this lesson can only be learnt under the 
tuition of poverty herself, who is the mother of religion, 
\ve have thought fit to commit you to the poor of Christ." e 
One of the King's ambassadors, John of Oxford, in his 
way homewards visited Henry's mother, the Empress 
Matilda, whom he endeavoured to prejudice against the 
Archbishop/ Our knowledge of this visit is derived from 
a letter in which Nicolas, master of a hospital at Mont 
S. Jacques, near Kouen, reports to Becket three inter- 

a i. 362. b Ib. 

c See Appendix XXI. 
1 Herb., 197; cf. iv. 243-4. 
Alan, i. 363 ; see Appen. XXII. 

* According to Becket's enemies, 
Matilda had opposed his appoint- 
ment to the primacy (S. T. C., vi. 





views to which he himself and Herbert of Bosham were 
shortly after admitted by the Empress. a Matilda, after 
some hesitation, received from these envoys a letter with 
which the Archbishop had charged them, and requested 
them to read it aloud to her, as she did not wish her 
own chaplains to know of it. After hearing the contents, 
she professed that her son had kept her in ignorance of 
his designs, " because he knew that she was favourable 
to the liberty of the Church rather than to the royal 
will." At a later interview, she desired that the Consti- 
tutions of Clarendon might be read to her in Latin and 
explained in French. " The woman is of the race of 
tyrants," says Nicolas, " and approved some of them," 
among others, that which prohibited the excommunication 
of the King's tenants without his leave ; to which 
Nicolas replied that Scripture says, "Tell it to the 
Church," not " Tell it to the King." She disapproved, 
however, of the greater number, and especially of their 
being reduced to writing, and enforced on the bishops 

a Thorn., Ep. 346. This letter 
is placed by Mr. Fronde in January, 
1166, as he connects it with a 
later mission of John to the Pope. 
Dr. Giles follows Mr. Froude 
in his date (iii. 340). But the 
letter evidently belongs to Christ- 
mas 1164; and I find that Dom 
Brial dates it accordingly (Kecueil 
des Historiens, xvi. 226). The 
words " Joannes de Oxeneford, qui, 
ex consilio episcoporum vestrorum 
ad curiam reversus, et a curia 
veniens, per dominam imperatri- 
cem transitum fecit " (iii. 188) are 

somewhat difficult. Mr. Froude, 
omitting " de consilio episcopo- 
rum," renders them, " John of 
Oxford, who on his way from Eng- 
land to the court, and on his re- 
turn, paid a visit to the Empress " 
(132). But unless we change the 
position of " reversus " and " ve- 
niens," the meaning seems rather 
to be that, after having left Sens 
in company with the other envoys, 
he returned to that city alone, and 
thence took his way to the Em- 
press, not having visited her before. 


by an engagement to observe them. Her skill in de- 
fending her son seems to have somewhat perplexed the 
envoys, and they were unable to gainsay her arguments 
as to the practical mischief of the clerical immunities. 
" She shows great discernment and reason in detecting 
the origin of the troubles of the Church ; for she said 
some things in which we quite went along with her. 
The bishops indiscreetly ordain clerks who are without 
titles to any churches ; whereby it comes to pass that a 
multitude of persons in orders, through poverty and 
idleness, fall into discreditable courses : for one who has 
no title to a benefice has no fear of deprivation. He 
does not fear punishment, because the Church will de- 
fend him ; nor does he dread the Bishop's prison, since 
Bishops would rather that crime a should pass unpunished 
than take the trouble of doing their duty as pastors or 
keeping him in custody." b It does not appear how, after 
having admitted the truth of these remarks, the envoys 
justified their master's proceedings : but they secured from 
the Empress a promise of her mediation with the King. 
They also report an interview' with Arnulf of Lisieux, 
who told them that, but for his debts, he would openly 
avow his sympathy with the Archbishop, and character- 
istically promised to befriend him in so far as it might 
be possible to do so without compromising himself. 

It was on Christmas eve that the King of England 
heard from his envoys the report of their ill-success at 

a " Commissum," Brial. The 
other editions read " conversum." 

b Mr. Froude omits all after 
" For one who," &c. a somewhat 
important omission. 

c Thorn., Ep. 346. Matilda re- 
appears in connexion with a pro- 
posal that Becket should have a 
conference with her, A.D. 1166. 
Joh. Sarish., Ep. 182. 




the Papal Court. On the morrow of the festival, he 
issued orders that the Archbishop's property and the 
revenues of the See of Canterbury should be confiscated,* 
and that all Becket's kindred, clerks, and servants, with 
those who had harboured him in his flight, should be 
banished ; the same oppressive measure which had been 
threatened against Foliot, in order to overcome his op- 
position to Becket's election, being now enforced against 
the Primate himself. The Bishops were commanded to 
withhold from the clerks attached to him all the income 
of preferments within their respective dioceses, b and were 
required to bind themselves by a solemn promise that 
they would not quit the kingdom, hold communication 
with the exiles, appeal to the Pope in any matter what- 
ever, or receive any rescripts from him. Peterpence were 
to be gathered into the royal treasury, and to be kept 
there until further order. It was forbidden to mention 
the Primate in the public prayers. The sheriffs were 
charged to arrest and imprison all persons who should 
appeal to the Pope ; and any one who should be caught 
in bringing letters from the Pope or the Archbishop 
was either to be hanged, or to be put into a crazy boat 
and turned adrift to the mercy of the waves. 

The chief instrument in the execution of these mea- 

a Becket accuses Foliot of having 
shared in the spoil (iii. 175). See 
below, p. 160. 

b As to the operation of this, 
see Job. Sarisb., Ep. 140. 

c Boger, i. 156 ; Fitzst., i. 243 ; 
Job, Sarisb., in S. T. C., i. 331 ; 
Will. Cant,, ii. 15 ; Anon. Lamb., 
ii. 100 ; Herb., vii. 198-200 ; Gar- 
nier, 66-8 ; Henr. ad Episcopos et 

Vicecomites, ap. Foliot, Epp. 481-2. 
M. Thierry represents these orders 
as given immediately after the 
flight (iii. 134) ; while Baronius 
(1164. 42) refers to this time an- 
other set of orders, which really 
belong to the year 1169 (p. 229, 
below). See Natal. Alex., xiii. 170, 
ed. Bingen, 1788. 

A.D. 1164-5. 



sures was an old and persevering enemy of the Arch- 
bishop, Kanulf de Broc, to whom Henry entrusted the 
care of the archiepiscopal property. The original cause 
of this baron's enmity may probably have been a claim 
raised by Becket to the castle and lordship of Saltwood, 
which the King had bestowed on Kanulf in fee on their 
being forfeited by Henry of Essex, whereas the Arch- 
bishop contended that they ought to have then reverted 
absolutely to the see of Canterbury, under which they 
had before been held. a We have already seen that de 
Broc was foremost in insulting the Archbishop at North- 
ampton, and he now performed his commission with an 
eager and superfluous barbarity. " Those," says Grim, 
" of whom God especially styles Himself the Father 
and Judge orphans, widows, children altogether inno- 
cent and unknowing of any discord, aged men, women 
with their little ones hanging at their breasts, clerks and 
lay folk, of whatever age or sex, of the Archbishop's 
kindred, and some of his friends " were seized in the 
depth of winter and mercilessly transported beyond sea, 
after having been obliged to swear that they would seek 
him out and present themselves before him, in order 
to add to his afflictions by the sight of their misery. b 
Some of the Archbishop's connexions, indeed, found 

a S. T. C., iii. 220. See Hasted's 
Kent, iii. 404, folio ed. 

b Grim, i. 54 ; Fitzst., i. 255 ; 
Joh. Sarisb., in S. T. C., i. 331 ; 
Herb., vii. 198; Thorn., Epp. iii. 
288. "Quse justitia," asks John 
of Salisbury, "proscripsit inno- 
centes sine delectu professionis et 

ordinis, setatis et sexus ? Quis 
unquam tanta immanitate dis- 
traxit copulam nuptiarum ? " (Ep. 
193, col. 210-1.) Herbert mentions 
Kalph de la Serra as having been 
banished, " cum parentibus suis, 
jam magis sepulchre quam exilio 
aptis," although he neither be- 




means of concealing themselves in England ; a some of 
the wealthier, who could afford to do so, compounded 
for permission to remain ; and the biographer Fitzstephen 
obtained an exemption from the general sentence by 
composing for the King's use a curiously rhymed Latin 
prayer, which he presented to Henry in person. b Those 
on whom the sentence of banishment was executed were 
absolved from their oath by, the Pope, and such of them 
as were less able to travel remained in Flanders. But 
many found their way to Pontigny ; and Herbert fills 
much space with a long oration, in which the Arch- 
bishop's eruditi are said to have endeavoured to soothe 
his grief at the piteous spectacle of the multitude which 
was suffering for his sake, and with one of still greater 
length which is described as the reply. The cause for 
which the exiles suffered, however, procured for them a 
welcome in foreign lands, so that many of them were 

longed to the family nor to the 
household of the Archbishop. He 
afterwards became Dean of Kheims 
(vii. 365). 

a Fitzst., i. 245 ; Herb. vii. 198. 

b Fitzst., i. 245- 6. Of this prayer 
a very small specimen may be 
enough : 

" Rex cunctoram saeculorum, Rex arcis 

Rector poll, rector soli, regum Rex altis- 

Qui et maris dominaris, conturbas et ex- 

Et quum placet, stratum jacet, motum 

ejus mitigas." 

Fitzstephen at a later time (pro- 
bably after the reconciliation with 
the King) visited Becket at Floury. 

(See above, p. 128.) Another 
William, who is styled "of Salis- 
bury," and is described as a 
priest, and one of the Archbishop's 
chaplains, after having been al- 
lowed to stay in England, was 
imprisoned in Corfe Castle, in re- 
venge for a fresh act of provocation 
on his master's part, but was set 
free at the intercession of the Pope 
and Foliot. See Fitzst., i. 245 ; 
S. T. C., iii. 7, 317 ; iv. 1 18 ; 
v. 6 ; Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 184, fin. ; 
Diceto, 548. 

c Thorn., Ep. 22; Herb. vii. 
211. Most writers omit to state 
that the actual suffering was thus 


better provided for than they had been in their own 
country : a nor was assistance from Henry of Winchester 
and other friends in England wanting, notwithstanding 
the royal order to the contrary. b Some of the clergy 
would seem to have been appointed to ecclesiastical 
benefices in France and elsewhere. The women and 
children were received into convents, and the men were 
entertained by princes and nobles, by bishops, abbots, 
and clergy, d with a hospitality from which we should not 
think of detracting did not the exaggerated praises of 
some writers compel us to observe that the motives of it 
at first may not have been altogether free from factious- 
ness, 6 and that its warmth subsided long before the 
necessity was at an end. f 

The benefices of the banished or deprived clergy were 
committed by the King to the custody of the Bishop of 

a Job. Sarisb., Epp. 137, 211, i elect of Syracuse to intercede with 

214, &c. ; Herb., vii. 214 ; Fitzst, 
i. 243. 

b Fitzst., i. 268. 

c The Pope desires the Bishop 
of Troyes to give Herbert the priory 
of his church (ap. Thorn., Ep. 289) ; 
and in another letter he requests 
Louis to bestow an abbey on the 

these royal persons for the recall 
of the banished Archbishop of 
Palermo, Stephen de la Perche, 
as a measure which would gratify 
the King of France (Ep. 150 ; of. 
Ludov., Ep. 452, ap. Bouquet, 
xvi.) ; and in another letter he 
speaks of the Sicilian King's power 

Archbishop, for his support until in ecclesiastical matters as the bad 

better times should come. (Ap. i model which the King of England 

Fol., Ep. 380.) I was imitating (Ep. 29, p. 93). For 

d Gamier, 65 ; Chron. Sithieuse, I the " Sicilian Monarchy," see 

ap. Bouquet, xiii. 473. 

e It is amusing enough to find 
Becket expressing warm thanks 

above, p. 106. 

f Arnulf had warned Becket 
betimes that this would probably 

for the kindness shown to his be the case, and had cautioned him 
friends by the King and the Queen- j accordingly as to his conduct (ed. 
mother of Sicily (Ep. 192), while ', Giles, p. 156). In some cases there 
in one letter he begs the Bishop- ; may have been very sufficient 




London, who is blamed by the opposite party for neg- 
lecting to give any relief to those who were in distress 
for their adherence to the Archbishop, and for allowing 
his officials to make undue profits by the renewal of 
leases. But, after having held this trust about a year, 
the bishop was compelled by the Pope to resign it. a 

reasons for growing tired of the 
guests. Thus, in the beginning of 
the exile, John of Salisbury re- 
ports to his master that he had 
asked the Bishop of Chalons-on-the 
Marne to take in one of the clerks. 
" He acquiesces readily, and only 
begs that you will send him some 
respectable person [aliquem pro- 

bum hominem]. Yet he will re- 
ceive whomsoever you send. But 
whenever you send one, pray in- 
struct him to behave with modesty ; 
for the people of this kingdom 
are modest." (Joh. Sarisb., i. 197, 
ed. Giles.) 
Fitzst, i. 249-250. 


PONTIGNT. DEC. 1164 EASTEK, 1166. 

SIXTY-SIX years before the time when Becket found a 
refuge at Pontigny, the order of Citeaux had been 
founded by Kobert of Molesme, on the principle of a 
strict and literal conformity to the monastic rule of St. 
Benedict. Its monasteries were to be planted in lonely 
places ; the monks were to eschew all pomp, pride, and 
superfluity; their services unlike those of the elder 
society of Cluny, whose ritual was distinguished by 
splendour were to be simple and plain. Some of the 
ecclesiastical vestments were discarded, and those which 
were retained were to be of fustian or linen, without 
any golden ornaments. No painting or sculpture was 
to be admitted into their churches ; the windows were 
to be of plain glass, and no high towers were to be 
erected. They were to have only one iron chandelier ; 
their censers were to be of brass or iron ; no precious 
metal was allowed, except one chalice and a tube for the 
eucharistic wine, which were, if possible, to be of silver- 
gilt, but might not be of gold. The dress of the monks 
was white, agreeably to a pattern which the Blessed Virgin 
showed in a visjon to the second abbot, Alberic ; their 
fare was rigorously simple, and from the ides of Sept- 
ember to Easter they were allowed to eat but one meal 



daily. For some years the severity of the rule pre- 
vented any great accession of numbers ; and the third 
abbot, an Englishman, named Stephen Harding, had 
begun to despair of the continuance of the order, when, 
in 1113, St. Bernard joined it accompanied by more 
than thirty of his relations and others, whom his ex- 
hortations had persuaded to embrace the monastic life. 
Immediately a new impulse was given to the order. The 
same year saw the foundation of La Ferte, the " eldest 
daughter " of Citeaux ; a Pontigny, founded by Hugh of 
Macon, afterwards Bishop of Auxerre, followed in 1114 ; 
and in 1115 the number of the four "chief daughters," 
to whom a large influence was assigned in the general 
affairs of the order, was completed by the foundation of 
Clairvaux and Morimond. After having thrown out 
these swarms, the Cistercian society increased with 
great rapidity, being mainly forwarded by the saintly 
repute of Bernard, who, for a quarter of a century be- 
fore his death in 1153, exercised a virtual dictatorship 
over the whole of Western Christendom. In 1151 the 
number of its monasteries exceeded five hundred, and 
at this time the young order surpassed all other monastic 
communities in reputation and popularity. 

Pontigny, the second daughter of Citeaux, was one 
of the monasteries which had been desired by the Pope 
to put up special prayers for the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury at the beginning of his struggle with the King, b 
and the abbot, Guichard, had been especially engaged 

Chaillou des Barres, L'Abbaye de Pontigny. Paris, 1844, p. 14. 
b See p. 150. 


2 ! 

A.D. 1164. 



in his interest by his friend John r Bishop of Poitiers.* 
The great church of the abbey, a severe and majestic 
structure of a style intermediate between the Ko- 
manesque and the Gothic, founded in 1150, and pro- 
bably completed about the time of Becket's retreat, b 
still remains entire amid the shattered conventual build- 
ings, to connect our age with his, although the chapel 
in which he is said to have performed his devotions has 
been destroyed, and the only memorial of him is a 
wretched picture of his murder. Since his time Pon 
tigny has served as a home to two other banished pri- 
mates of England : Stephen Langton, in the reign of 
John ; and Edmund Kich, who died an exile in 1242, 
and whose relics are enshrined behind the high altar. 

It was on St. Andrew's Day that Becket arrived at 
Pontigny, and he remained there nearly two years, 
being supported and clothed, with his attendants, at the 
expense of the community.* 1 Shortly after his arrival, 
he requested that he might be furnished with a monastic 
habit, hallowed by the papal benediction ; for, it is said, 
he wished to mark his renewed appointment to his office 
by becoming a monk, like the archbishops before him. 
The Pope complied with his request, and the bio- 
graphers, in reporting some pleasantries which passed 
on the occasion of first trying on the dress, take occasion 
to inform us that the Archbishop's spare figure was so 

Foliot, Epp. 243-4. 

b See Chaillou des Barres, 31 ; 
Fergusson, Handbook of Archi- 
tecture, 689. " Cette admirable 
Eglise, due a la munificence du 

Comte [Thibault] de Champagne,, 
semble etre d'un seul jet." Ch. 
des Barres, 35. 

c See Chaillou des Barres, 105-8. 

d Roger, i. 154. 




stuffed out by the unsuspected shirt of hair that all the 
world supposed him to be a portly man. a He now en- 
deavoured to conform in every respect to the strict rule 
of the Cistercians, but his mortification was carried on, 
as it had been at Canterbury, with a studious attempt 
&t concealment. His table was placed by itself in the 
refectory, so that he was safe from the general observa- 
tion. Viands suitable to his dignity were served on it, 
but he privately instructed the monk who waited on 
him to place among them the coarse and unsavoury 
pulmentaria of the Cistercian dietary ; and to these for a 
time he restricted himself, allowing the more delicate 
food to be carried away for beggars b from whom M. 
Thierry might probably claim a portion for distressed 
Saxon refugees. Nor did he refuse even to share in the 
bodily labours of his hosts ; for we are told that he made 
hay and engaged in other agricultural works, which 
not even sickness could persuade him to intermit. 
Gamier and Grim add other and more wonderful details 
of his mortification and devotion, borrowing (we sus- 
pect) somewhat too largely from the stock austerities of 

a Alan, i. 363-4 ; Herb., vii. 
197. "Videbatur grossior," says 
Alan, " qui fuit macilentus, sed 
jocundus facie." The view which 
the biographers give that he 
looked stout, and was thin that 
he was rigorous in diet, yet seemed 
to fare sumptuously is something 
almost docetic, and with this 
agrees a story of a miracle, told 
by Hoveden. One day, as he was 
dining with Pope Alexander, one 

who knew his custom of living on 
bread and water, although dainties 
were served up to him, placed on 
the table a cup of water. The 
Pope tasted it, and found it ex- 
cellent wine ; whereupon, saying 
" I thought this was water," he 
set it before the Archbishop ; 
and immediately it became water 
again ! Hoved., 298. 

b Grim, i. 57 ; Herb., vii. 214. 

c Gervase, 1400. 

A.D. 1165. 



the hagiologists. It is said that he was wont to lock 
himself up in an oratory, where he employed his time 
in exercises which might be guessed at from his loud 
and frequent groans ; that he used to stand for hours 
chilling himself in a stream ; that instead of occupying 
the bed which was prepared for him, " with clean and 
costly coverings, as was meet for an archbishop," he 
spent much of the night in prayer, and then used to 
rouse his chaplain Kobert of Merton, and submit him- 
self to him for discipline ; a that when the chaplain 
returned to his couch, weary with exertion and unable 
to flog any longer, the saint tore his own flesh with his 
nails, until at length, in a state of exhaustion, he lay 
down on the bare floor, and, with a stone for his pillow, 
yielded himself to a short slumber, which the galling 
cilice and the gnawings of his multitudinous vermin 
rendered a pain and an additional weariness rather than 
a refreshment. b 

That he soon fell ill, is certain ; and then, it is said, 
he was haunted by visions of malignant cardinals bent 
on plucking out his eyes, of savage men cutting off his 
tonsured crown, and other such terrible phantasms. 
Herbert, who does not mention any other cause of his 
illness than the unwholesome diet, tells us that he him- 
self discovered this cause with some difficulty, and that, 
in obedience to his remonstrances, the Archbishop re- 

Robert was sworn to keep this 
secret until after his master's death. 
Grim, i. 63. 

b Grim, i. 55, 62-3; Gamier, 
102-3. These details are in part 

given in connexion with his resid- 
ence at Sens, but are, no doubt, to 
be equally understood of his stay 
at Pontigny. 

c Grim, i. 58 ; Gamier, 94. 




turned to his Canterbury practice of placing his mortifi- 
cation rather in the scantiness than in the plainness of his 
food, a eating (we may suppose) his morsel of pheasant 
and drinking bis sip of wine with abstinence, while the 
brethren .of Stephen Harding and Bernard might be 
gluttonous over their beech leaves and their bran. b 
Although, however, the Archbishop's personal habits 
were thus severe, his general style of living was such 
that his friend the Bishop of Poitiers thought it neces- 
sary to urge on him repeatedly a reduction of his 
establishment. " Your wisdom," he says, in one of his 
letters, " ought to know that no one will think the less 
of you if, in conformity to your circumstances and in 
condescension to the religious house which entertains 
you, you content yourself with a moderate number 
both of horses and of men, such as your necessities 
require." c 

Much of his time was now given to study, d in which his 
chief associates were Herbert of Bosham and a learned 
canonist of Piacenza named Lombard, who was after- 
wards Archbishop of Benevento. 6 Herbert tells us that 

vii. 215-6. 

b Alan. Altissiod. in Vita Ber- 
nardi, 18 (Patrol, clxxxv.). 

c S. T. C., vi. 250 (cf. ib. 255) ; 
Troude, 570. See Appendix XXIII. 

d Fitzstephen tells us that dur- 
ing his exile he caused copies of 
many rare books to be executed in 
French libraries, for the enrich- 
.ment of that of Canterbury, i. 244. 

e This person has been con- 
founded with Herbert of Bosham, 
in consequence of a mistake in the 

Quadrilogus (p. 157), and the error 
runs through many works, down to 
Mr. Froude's (p. 116). It is cor- 
rected by Dr. Giles in the Preface 
to S. T. C., vol. viii., before seeing 
which I had myself detected it. 
(See British Magazine, xxx. 51.) 
Mr. Morris has adopted another 
error, that of identifying him with 
Humbert, afterwards Pope Urban 
III. (p. 199.) (Comp. Nos. 2 and 
19 in the ' Catalogus Eruditorum,' 
S. T. C., vii. 362-7.) 

A.D. 1165-( 



he occupied himself especially with the Psalter and the 
Epistles, " as being two spiritual eyes, the mystical and 
the moral : the one perfectly teaching ethics, and the 
other contemplation." a But the main direction of his 
reading was such as his wisest friend, John of Salisbury, 
could not regard without fear for the effects which it 
might be expected to produce on the Archbishop's 
peculiar temper. " Laws and canons," he wrote, " are 
indeed useful ; but, believe me, these are not what will 
now be needed 

' Non hoc ista sibi tempus spectacula poscit.' 

Virg. Mn. vi. 37. 

For in truth they do not so much excite devotion as 
curiosity. . . . Who ever rises pricked in heart from 
the reading of laws, or even of canons ? I would rather 
that you should ruminate on the Psalms, and should 
peruse St. Gregory's books of ' Morals,' than that you 
should philosophise after the manner of schoolmen. 
You would do better to confer on moral subjects with 
some spiritual man, by whose example you may be 
kindled, than to pry into and discuss the contentious 
points of secular learning. God knoweth with what 
intention, with what' devotion, I suggest these things. 
You -will take them as you please." b The study of 

a " Theoriam," Herb., vii. 196, 

b Job. Sarisb., Ep. 138 (written 
about the beginning of February, 
1165). Dr. Lingard seems to agree 
in thinking that the Archbishop's 
studies had an unfavourable effect 
on him, and quotes this letter (ii. 

148), but wrongly refers it to the 
time of his residence at Sens, not 
without a motive, as we shall see 
hereafter. Mr. Turner, after citing 
the passage given in the text, adds, 
" Becket excommunicated this 
bishop " (i. 258) ; and Lord Camp- 
bell, who (as his manner is) bor- 




ecclesiastical law as it then was " developed " by 
forgery, ignorance of antiquity, and the usurpations of 
the clergy, which had been advancing for centuries, 
and lately reduced to method by Gratian, in accord- 
ance with the principles of the False Decretals and with 
the highest hierarchical pretensions was especially 
fitted to bring out the defects of Becket's character, by 
filling his mind with exaggerated notions. And a tutor 
who was " Lombard by nation as well as by name " a 
was likely, from republican as well as from ecclesiastical 
feeling, to give especial prominence to whatever might 
lead to the depreciation of the royal power ; while the 
Archbishop's rigid manner of life would arm him with a 
stern determination to carry out his ideas of duty, 
without abating in any point of what he conceived to be 
his dignities and the rights of the Church. 

About this time the correspondence becomes very 
copious and important. Unhappily, however, the edi- 
tors have done little for it ; nay, the late editor appears 
to have done all that was in his power to prevent the 
possibility of reading it with ease or pleasure, and even 
to throw impediments in the way of understanding it. 
Alan of Tewkesbury, indeed, in making his collection, 
attempted " with labour and study," as Herbert says, to 

rows the quotation from Mr. Turner 
without acknowledgment, says, still 
more pointedly, that John " was 
excommunicated for Ms pains," i. e. 
for writing the letter (i. 86). This 
misstatenient is very injurious to 
Becket, who, if we may judge by 
the freedom with which John con- 
tinued to admonish him, would 

seem to have taken the expostula- 
tion in good part. He excommuni- 
cated Joscelin, Bishop of .Salisbury, 
and John (of Oxford), Dean of 
Salisbury; but John of Salisbury 
was his steady adherent, and was 
not a bishop until after Becket's 

a Herb., vii. 362. 


digest the letters in chronological order ; a but a glance 
at Mr. Froude's re-arranged list will show that, as might 
have been expected, the good monk's success was very 
imperfect ; and hence the old edition, in which Alan is 
implicitly followed, can by no means be relief on as a 
guide to the dates or relative position of the letters. 
But if Alan be unsatisfactory, what is to be said of 
Dr. Giles ? It really seems as if this editor were ani- 
mated by a malignant desire to worry and baffle his 
readers at once to multiply their toil and to mar the re- 
sults of it. He divides his four volumes of correspondence 
into two pairs placing Becket's letters b at the be- 
ginning of the first, and those of Foliot at the beginning 
of the second ; excluding the letters of John of Salis- 
bury c and Arnulf, which are published in other volumes 
of his ' Patres Ecclesiae Anglicans ; ' and distributing 
the epistles of other writers between the portions which 
bear the names of Becket and Foliot respectively. 
These arrangements would, of themselves, be enough to 
make considerable hunting necessary in any attempt to 
read the correspondence with understanding more es- 
pecially as many epistles addressed to Becket are an- 
nexed, not to his letters, but to those of Foliot, so that a 
letter and the reply to it may be more than three 

See p. 6. 

b As Lord Campbell (i. 99) gives 
Becket credit for all the merits of 
the letters which pass tinder his 
name, we may mention that Her- 
bert speaks of them as " quas vel 
ipsemet scripsit, vel aliqui de eru- 
ditis suis, de ipsius mandate, sub 
ejus nomine " (vii. 234). Some of j 

the letters which are given in Dr. 
Giles's 8th volume, as written by 
Herbert in the Archbishop's name, 
were probably rejected drafts. 

c Dr. Giles's edition of John is 
worthy to keep company with his 
' S. Thomas,' except that it is 
yet more carelessly printed. 


volumes apart from each other, while many pieces which 
are essential to the completeness of the Becket cor- 
respondence must be sought in the separate works of 
John and Arnulf. But the difficulty of finding our 
way is strangely increased by the internal order of the 
classes ; for this is regulated, in the case of the letters 
from Becket and Foliot, by the rank of the receivers ; in 
the others, by the rank of the writers. The clergy take 
precedence, and after the most insignificant of these 
come emperors, kings, and queens, from whom the scale 
descends by due gradations to the rest of the laity. 
For this, indeed, a precedent had been given by a late 
voluminous baronet, who published the letters of his cor- 
respondents in their strict heraldic order. But in the 
voluminous baronet's case such a disposition had a mo- 
tive, as he was thus enabled to parade in the most im- 
posing style the greatness of the personages whom he had 
drawn into writing to him ; whereas in the present case 
it is no less without an object than it is absurd and vexa- 
tious. Dr. Giles, it is true, professes to have consulted 
the taste of some possible students. " It was thought," 
he says, " that readers might like to see how many letters 
were written by the different authors ; for which reason 
the arrangement of all the subordinate writers has been 
made with a reference to their dignity." a But, without 
venturing to deny the existence of any such statistical 
virtuosi, we must think it unreasonable that to their very 
eccentric tastes the editor has sacrificed the convenience, 
and much more than the convenience, of all who wish to 

S. T. C.. iii. pref. ix. 


read for the sake of historical information. And so 
utterly indifferent is Dr. Giles to any purposes of utility, 
that he has not even taken the trouble to put into their 
proper order the letters addressed to the same person 
by Becket or Foliot, or those of the same writer in the 
rest of the correspondence. 

There is, indeed, Mr. Froude's table to guide us about 
the old edition, and Dr. Giles has furnished another, 
which (not to speak of its frequent incorrectness) is so 
meagre as to be practically useless ; so that the laborious 
reader may, if he will, pick out his way, after some 
fashion, through the four octavos of Becket and Foliot, 
the three volumes of John and Arnulf, and the corpulent 
little quarto, by the help of two lists which do not agree 
with each other while many of the letters do not appear 
in either list ; a but we need not say how different this 
painful and groping process is from that of reading 
smoothly onwards in a collection digested by an intelli- 
gent and careful editor, according to the order of dates. 
In neither of the editions is there a single note to assist 
the reader, nor has Dr. Giles even condescended to 
supply an index ; while as to care of text, accuracy of 
printing, and such like matters, both the old and the new 
editions are as choice specimens as could readily be 
found of the method forcibly described by Mr. Carlyle 
in his ' Cromwell ' " editing, as you edit waggon-loads 

a Moreover, Dr. Giles sometimes 
repeats the same letter in two 
places, thus : 

Thorn. 320 = Foliot, 430. 
321 = 433. 

Thorn. 322 = Pol. 428. 
323= 432. 
168 = Joh. Sar. 151. 
Fol. 197 = part of Fol. 292. 




of rubbish, by turning the waggon upside-down." The 
only publication in which as yet any part of the corre- 
spondence can be read with comfort is the sixteenth volume 
of the ' Eecueil des Historiens de la France/ where Dom 
Brial has bestowed his skill and labour on so much of it 
as he deemed suitable for a collection of French history ; a 
but unhappily this is only a small part of the large and 
valuable mass which still demands the attention of some 
competent and conscientious scholar. b 

If the reader should be afraid to embark on the great 
and almost trackless ocean of the correspondence, he 
may gain some idea of it from Mr. Froude's volume, in 
which many of the letters are translated with spirit, if 
not always with accuracy. We cannot say that, as a 
whole, it gives a favourable idea of the time. There is 
abundance of violence, falsehood, and insincerity ; mean 

See p. 209 of the volume in 

b The Abbe Migne has reprinted 
Dr. Giles's publications in his ' Pa- 
trologia,' but apparently without 
any other improvement than the 
correction of some of the grossest 
misprints. That even this, how- 
ever, is something, may appear 
from the following specimen. In 
one of Becket's letters, where Wil- 
liam of Pa via is spoken of, the old 
edition has merely " declinabimus 
judicium" (326), where Dr. Giles 
gives us " Sed vobis ut vobis vora- 
citer Hull, ipsius in eternum de- 
clinabimus judicium" (iii. 131). 
M. Migne's reading is " Sed nos 
ut vobis veraciter dicimus," &c. 

(cxc. 513). I had myself, before 
seeing this, conjectured the same 
amendment, except that perhaps 
we ought to read dico, as being 
nearer in form to the word which 
Dr. Giles has printed in black 
letter. Such transitions from the 
singular to the plural are not un- 
common : thus, in S. T. C., iii. 189, 
we find " scribimws....confundamzS 
....opto ;" and in St. Bernard, Ep. 
100, " hortandws vobis et obse- 
crandws es&etis ;" Ep. 307, " Super 
statu corporis mei cognovi vos esse 

c I have generally based my ex- 
tracts on Mr. Froude's version, 
making the necessary corrections. 


selfishness and artifice, trying to veil themselves under 
lofty professions and language ; cant, too evidently known 
by those who used it to be nothing better than cant ; 
strange tossing to and fro of Scripture perverted by 
allegory and misapplication. On the part of the Pope 
there is temporizing and much which must be called 
duplicity ; the cardinals and other high dignitaries appear 
corrupt and crafty ; Becket is arrogant, intemperate, 
and querulous ; Henry at once violent and slippery ; 
Louis weakly hypocritical; Foliot smooth, politic, and 
tricky. The most vehement enemies of Rome might 
enrich their abuse of the Mediaeval Church from the 
language and imputations which her eminent members 
lavish on each other. She appears distracted by schism 
and faction, corrupted and degraded by a multiplicity of 
evils, pitiably subjected to the variations of temporal 
affairs, and attempting to assert herself against the world, 
not by leavening it with a higher and purer element, 
but by setting up pretensions unfounded, mischievous, 
and of a rival worldliness. 

The best letters of the whole cycle are those of John 
of Salisbury. This eminent man had in his youth been 
a pupil of Abelard, a and perhaps may have derived from 
that teacher something of the independent spirit which 
appears throughout his writings. 15 At a later time he 
had been secretary to Archbishop Theobald, in whose 
name many of his earlier letters are written, and towards 
the end of that patron's life he had been in some trouble 
with the King, partly in consequence of Arnulf s machi- 

Job. Sarisb. Metalog., ii. 10, I b Tosti, Storia di Abelardo, 198, 
17 ; iii. init. I Nap. 1851. 




nations. 11 Unlike most of those with whom he is asso- 
ciated in the correspondence, he is free from cant, and 
writes with apparent honesty ; he is genial, learned, and 
sensible. Although a strenuous adherent of Becket, he 
is by no means blind to his faults, or sparing in reproof 
of them ; b while his ill opinion of the plausible Bishop 
of London finds vent in a variety of amusing ways. 
John had been banished or compelled to withdraw from 
England about the time of the Council of Westminster ; c 
and, until he was followed by his master into France, 
had been indefatigably employed as his agent in that 
country. It was now in his power to return to England, 
on condition of swearing that he had not acted against the 
King an oath which he believed that he might safely 
take ; but he had reason to suspect that it might be 
unfairly interpreted, and the Pope advised him on this 
account to decline the terms. Nor would he consent to 
make his peace by abandoning the Archbishop, although 
he declared that he had stood by him only when justice 
and moderation were on his side, and that, whenever 
Becket had appeared to exceed the bounds of right, he 
had firmly " withstood him to the face." d He there- 
fore remained an inmate of the abbey of St. Kemi, at 
Kheims, which was then under the headship of Peter of 

a Job. Bar., Epp. 96, 112, 135, 

b "Novit cordium inspector, et 
verb[or]um judex et operum, quod 
ssepius et asperius quam aliquis 
mortalium corripuerim dominum 
archiepiscopum de his, in quibus 
ab initio dominum regem et suos 

zelo quodam inconsultius visus est 
ad amaritudinem provocasse, cum 
pro loco, et tempore, et personis, 
mu*li fuerint dispensanda" (Ep. 

c See Appendix XXJU. 

d Job. Sarisb., Epp. 141-2, 163-4. 


La Celle, one of the most learned men of the age, and 
long after the successor of John in the bishopric of 
Chartres. a 

In Lent, 1165, Henry crossed from England into 
Normandy, where he received an embassy from Frede- 
rick Barbarossa, headed by Reginald, archbishop-elect 
of Cologne and chancellor 'of Italy. b The ostensible 
object of this mission was to ask one of the King's 
daughters in marriage for the Emperor's son, and another 
for his kinsman, Henry the Lion, of Saxony ; but it was 
also connected with ecclesiastical affairs, as Alexander's 
late treatment of Henry suggested the hope that the 
King might be won to the side of the Imperialist anti- 
pope. From Normandy the Germans followed the 
King into England, where, although received with formal 
honour, they were regarded with coolness on account o 
their connexion with the antipope ; the Earl of Leicester 
refused to kiss the " arch-schismatic " of Cologne, and the 
altars on which they had celebrated mass were thrown 
down, or purified from the contamination of their rites. d 
On their return to Germany, however, they were accom- 
panied by John of Oxford and Eichard of Ilchester, and 

a Ep. 300, fin. See Peter's high 
estimation of John's letters, Ep. 
70 ; (Patrol., ccii.) 

b Bob. de Monte, A.D. 165; 
Pauli, 59. See Luden, Gesch. des 
Deutschen Volkes, xi. 633. Rau- 
mer gives a very favourable cha- 
racter of Reginald, Gesch. d. 
Hohenst., ii. 85. 

c Raumer, ii. 192. 

d Diceto, 539; Wendover, ii. 
312. There is a letter from Regi- 
nald to the King of France, excus- 
ing himself for having been unable 
to wait on him, and requesting 
him not to abet "the schismatic 
Roland " (i. e. Alexander). Rec. 
des Hist., xvi. 120. 




Keginald boasted that he had won to the antipapal party 
the King of England, who would bring with him more 
than fifty bishops from his wide dominions. 3 At Whit- 
suntide a great diet was held at Wiirzburg, where the 
Emperor exacted of his prelates an oath to support 
Paschal as Pope, and to renounce Alexander, with all 
who should be chosen to succeed him ; and in this oath, 
according to documents issued by Frederick, and to a 
letter of one of Becket's agents, the English envoys 
joined in their master's name. b The truth would seem 
to be, that these statements represent as absolute an 
engagement which was only conditional, and dependent 
on the course which the Pope should take in the dis- 
putes between the King and the Primate ; c but it is clear 
that the affair, however qualified, was discreditable to 
Henry and injurious to his reputation. Kotrou de Beau- 
mont, formerly bishop of Evreux, and now archbishop 
of Kouen, a kinsman of the Earl of Leicester, was com- 

iv. 264 ; viii. 267. 

b Hardouin, vi. ii. 1614-6 ; Rec. 
des Hist. xvi. 493 ; compare Becket 
Ep. iii. 9 ; Job. Sarisb., Ep. 148. 
Dr. Lingard wrongly places tbese 
transactions in 1167 (ii. 150), and 
Carte in 1168. i. 609. 

c Brial, in Rec. des Hist., 1. c. ; 
Nat. Alexander, xiv. 155 ; Lyttel- 
ton, ii. 417-8; Buss, 451. Dean 
Milman supposes tbat Henry went 
so far as to exact of bis subjects 
an abjuration of Alexander ; and 
that, altbougb " William of Can- 
terbury alone of Becket's bio- 
graphers asserts this (ii. 19), it is 
unanswerably confirmed by Beck- 

et's letter, 38" (Lat. Christ, iii. 
484). That such a fact, if real, 
should be omitted, not only by the 
biographers but by the chroniclers, 
is hardly conceivable. But, al- 
though William mentions it imme- 
diately after the Wiirzburg pro- 
ceedings, the connexion which 
leads him to do so seems rather to 
be one of subject than of time ; 
and Becket's letter is placed later, 
both by the old editions (1. iv. 47) 
and by Mr. Froude, who dates it 
in 1170 (p. 630). To that time I 
believe that William of Canter- 
bury's statement also relates. See 
below, p. 229. 

A.D. 1165. DIET OF WURZBUEG. 177 

missioned to assure a cardinal that the King had never 
promised the Emperor to desert Alexander for the Anti- 
pope, and would make no concession to the Germans, 
" even if they were to labour three days at it," except 
in accordance with his duty to the Pope and to the King 
of France.* Henry himself wrote to the same cardinal, 
in explanation and vindication of his acts ; b and John of 
Oxford, whose behaviour at Wiirzburg had given rise to 
the general belief, was sent to swear before Alexander 
that he had done nothing " against the faith of the 
Church and the honour and interest of the Pope." c The 
state of affairs had by this time encouraged Alexander 
to return to Italy : he quitted Sens in April, 1165 
being accompanied by Becket as far as Bourges d sailed 
from Maguelone in September, and, after having touched 
in Sicily, entered his capital on the 23rd of November. 6 
Early in 1166 Henry again passed into his continental 
territories, where he remained until 1170. At Angers, 
where he kept the festival of Easter/ John of Salisbury, 
Herbert of Bosham, and others of Becket's clerks, were 
admitted to an interview with him, in consequence of a 
request made by the French King and nobles, that they 
might be allowed to return to their country, or, at least, 
to enjoy the income of their preferments. John of 

a iv. 148. Comp. Foliot, v.240. 
b vi. 281. 

c Job. Sarisb., Ep. 204. 
d Alan, 3G5. 

e Jaffe, Kcgesta Pontificum, 

{ We follow Mr. Froude as to 
the year of this interview. In the 
narrative of Fitzstephen it holds a 
later place, but with the vague 
date of " aliquando " (i. 264). 
Dr. Giles places it in 1167. ii. 121. 



Salisbury, who was first called into the royal presence, 
was willing to swear fidelity, but refused to desert the 
Archbishop, or to accept such of the usages as were con- 
demned by him and by the Pope ; whereupon he was 
ordered to withdraw. Herbert was then summoned, and 
it is satisfactory to get a glimpse of the biographer, as 
painted by another hand than his own. " Now," said 
the King, " we shall see a specimen of pride." " Master 
Herbert," says Fitzstephen, " was tall and handsome in 
person, and somewhat splendidly attired, having on a 
tunic of green cloth of Auxerre, with a mantle of the 
same, hanging down, after the German fashion, from his 
shoulders to his ankles, and adorned with suitable appur- 
tenances." a After having greeted the King, he took his 
seat ; and on hearing the terms which had already been 
proposed to John, he answered boldly by crying up the 
Archbishop as the King's most faithful friend, inasmuch 
as he would not allow him to go wrong, and by strongly 
reprobating the " customs." The audacity with which 
he spoke provoked the King to exclaim, " Is this son of 
a priest to disturb my kingdom and disquiet my peace ? " 
"It is not I that do it," answered Herbert, "but neither 
am I the son of a priest, as I was born before my father 
became a priest, nor is he the son of a King whose 
father was no King when he begot him." " Whosesoever 
son he is," said a baron, " I would give half my land that 
he were mine." But we cannot wonder that a King 

* I must guess at the meaning I bus suis," as Mr. Froude (116) 
of " ornatum decenter contingent!- I omits the words. 


" whose father had been no King " was provoked to in- 
dignation by Herbert's language and deportment, or 
that the attempt at accommodation consequently came 
to nothing.* 

A negotiation which the Archbishop himself opened 
with the King about the same time, or perhaps somewhat 
earlier, had no better result. It began in the most conci- 
liatory manner. The envoy was a Cistercian abbot, named 
Urban, " a man," according to Herbert, " both in name 
and in deed urbane ; Urban in name, urbane in reality, 
urbane also in speech ; for none but such an one was 
fit to perform such an embassy." This fascinating person 
bore with him a letter of corresponding blandness, " a 
most sVeet letter, containing supplication alone, and 
nothing, or very little, of reproof;" for the Archbishop 
" had sought for words profitable, sweet, and pacific, and 
wrote in most gentle terms, in order that, if possible, the 
King's heart might thereby be softened." Henry, how- 
ever, answered roughly ; and Urban was again charged 
to convey to him a verbal message of somewhat sterner 
tone, with a letter " containing a little of austerity, in 
which the Archbishop reproved the King, but as yet "in 
compassion and in the spirit of meekness." The King's 
second reply was (as might have been expected) rougher 
than the first ; and the Archbishop, finding (says Her- 
bert) that oil had no effect, proceeded " like a disciple 
of the true Samaritan " to pour in wine. A third letter 

Fitzst. i. 265 sqq. John of 
Salisbury complains that he had 

horses in this fruitless journey. 
Ep. 168, col. 160 c. 

spent thirteen pounds and lost two 



was written, in a tone of severe rebuke and lofty eccle- 
siastical dignity ; and for this, too, a bearer of suitable 
character was employed, a monk named Gerard " the 
shoeless," tattered, mortified, of a burning zeal, and 
fully disposed to take advantage of the licence which 
was usually allowed to such personages. The last com- 
munication incensed the King to fury, and so the nego- 
tiation ended. a 

And now the reader if the story of Becket is not 
altogether new to him, and if his previous acquaintance 
with it has been derived from certain sources may 
expect that we should tell him how King Henry pro- 
cured the removal of the exile from Pontigny. We 
are sorry to keep our reader waiting ; but we must tell 
things in their proper order. 

Herb., vii. 222-3. The first I second, Ep. 178. See Pagi in 
letter seems to be Ep. 179; the | Baron, xix. 261. 

A.D. 1166. 


VEZELAY. A.D. 1166. 

ALTHOUGH the Pope had returned to Kome, he was still 
far from feeling himself independent of persons and 
circumstances. Frederick Barbarossa was preparing for 
a great expedition into Italy, and it was inexpedient to 
alienate the King of England ; moreover, as Alexander 
was ill provided with money, the English Peterpence, as 
to which there is some curious correspondence about 
this time, furnished an additional motive for endeavour- 
ing to keep well with Henry. a He had therefore, in 
June, 1165, tied up Becket from taking any steps against 
the King until the following Easter ; b but that time 
had now arrived, and the Archbishop, fortified by a 

* In June, 1165, the Pope de- 
sires Foliot to collect this impost, 
to transmit the amount with all 
speed, and in the mean time to 
advance as much money as he can 
spare or borrow (iv. 96; Jaffe',. 
704). The Bishop replies that no 
Peterpence would have been forth- 
coming without the King's leave, 
and that the money shall be sent 
when gathered ; but he takes no 
notice of the request as to an ad- 
vance (v. 242). Alexander after- 
wards complains of delay : the 

Bishop of Exeter had reported 
that he had paid his- share, and the 
Pope is surprised that the Bishop 
of London had not remitted it (iv. 
101). There are three letters on 
the subject from Foliot to Henry 
(vi. 2-3, 7) ; from one of which it 
appears that the King had thoughts- 
of appropriating the money ; a step 
from which Foliot dissuades him, 
as likely to injure his interest with 
the Pope. 
b Ep. Thorn., 202. 




commission issued on Easter-day , a which gave him a 
legatine power over all England except the province of 
York, prepared for vigorous action. 

Threats conveyed by letter and otherwise had given 
Henry reason to apprehend that the extreme spiritual 
censures of excommunication against his person and 
interdict against his dominions were about to be pro- 
nounced^ He therefore summoned an assembly of his 
bishops and nobles to Chinon, and, after bitterly com- 
plaining of their slackness in aiding him against a man 
who was bent on " taking away alike his body and his 
soul," c desired their advice as to the course which 
should be pursued. At the suggestion of the Bishop of 
Lisieux, it was resolved to prevent the sentence by an 
appeal ; d for in the case of excommunication appeals 
were inadmissible after sentence, as the party was then 

iv. 10. The date is, " Ana- 
gnise, vii. id. Octob." But, as Jaffe 
observes (708), this is a blunder 
of a transcriber ; and the letter in 
which the legation is announced 
to the English clergy (iv. 81) 
shows that the real date is from 
the Lateran, April 24 (which in 
1166 was Easter day). The reason 
of the exception as to York was, 
that Koger was legate for Scot- 
land, and that it was against the 
Koman practice to subject the 
church of one legate to another. 
Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 185, col. 194 D. 

b See Epp. 168, 179 ; Hoveden, 
284, b. 

He is reported to have said 
" quod omnes proditores erant, qui 
eum adhibita opera et diligentia 

ab unius hominis infestatione no- 
lebant expedire." (Joh. Sarisb., 
Ep. 145, col. 136.) " These," says 
Mr. Froude, "are the very ex- 
pressions which Henry uttered in 
1170, and which were the imme- 
diate occasion of the Archbishop's 
murder." (p. 150 ; comp. Morris, 
186.) " C'etait," writes M. Michelet 
on that occasion, " la seconde fois 
que ces paroles homicides sortaient 
de sa bouche." (iii. 187.) There 
is, however, nothing murderous or 
suggestive of violence in the 
earlier speech, although the same 
can hardly be said of Mr. Froude 's 
translation (which Mr. Morris 
adopts\ "who had not zeal and 
courage enough to rid him," c. 
d Joh. Sarisb., 1. e. 

A.D. 1166. 



no longer a member of the Church. a Arnulf himself 
and the Bishop of Seez accordingly proceeded to Pon- 
tigny, accompanied by the Archbishop of Kouen, who 
professed that he went rather with a view of mediating 
between the parties than of aiding in the appeal. On 
arriving they found that Becket had received notice of 
their approach, and had left the abbey in order to avoid 
them ; b but they published the appeal, although in a 
manner to which exception was afterwards taken as 
informal, inasmuch as the document was only read 
aloud, instead of being affixed to the abbey gate. 
Walter de Flsle was sent from the assembly at Chinon 
into England, with orders to cause the ports to be 
watched so as to prevent the introduction of any docu- 
ments from the Archbishop, and to warn the clergy 
against obeying any sentence which might be uttered 
in defiance of the appeal to Eome. c 

a Hence bishops sometimes re- 
sorted to the expedient of excom- 
municating persons who were 
likely to appeal, a practice for- 
bidden by the Lateran Council of 
1179 (con. 6). 

b Dr. Giles represents Herbert 
as saying that the Archbishop 
"withdrew from Pontigny pur- 
posely to prevent notice being 
served on him." (' Life and 
Letters/ i. 333.) But Herbert's 
real statement is considerably dif- 
ferent : " We knew that, on the 
ground of domicile, appeals might 
be made, although the parties 
appealed against might be absent, 
or might absent themselves ; but 

we withdrew in order to avoid in- 
tercourse with the envoys." (vii. 
233.) Herbert represents the 
visit of the bishops to Pontigny 
as having taken place after the ex- 
communications, apparently con- 
founding the proceedings of the 
Norman prelates sent from Chinon 
with those of the English bishops 
on hearing what had been done at 
Vezelay. The correspondence is 
here the best guide. 

c Job. Sarisb., Ep. 145, col. 
138, B. Brial (521) and Buss (399) 
connect with this a report of severe 
measures adopted by Henry in 
order to prevent the importation 
of letters from Becket (Thorn., 




In the meanwhile the Archbishop, attended by some 
of his clerks, went on a pilgrimage to Soissons, where 
he arrived in the beginning of Kogation-week. He 
watched three nights before the altars of the Blessed 
Virgin, of St. Gregory, "the founder of the English 
Church," and of St. Drausius, a Bishop of Soissons in 
the seventh century, whose relics were supposed to give 
invincibility to persons about to engage in duels, and 
therefore, we are told, were very germane to the occasion.* 
On the morrow after Ascension-day a festival which 
in this year concurred with that of St. Drausius 
(June 2) he left Soissons, and on Whitsun-eve he 
reached the Abbey of Vezelay, on the borders of Bur- 
gundy and the Nivernois. Vezelay, now a decayed and 
deserted little town, b was in those days a place of con- 
siderable note. A religious house, founded in the valley 
of the Cure by Count Gerard and Bertha his wife, in the 
reign of Charles the Bald, had been soon after removed to 
the summit of a steep and lofty neighbouring hill, in con- 
sequence of the frequent attacks of infidel invaders. 6 The 

Ep. 372). But it clearly belongs 
to a later time. (See pp. 176, 229.) 
Instead of enforcing an abjuration 
of the Pope, as Mr. Buss supposes, 
Henry was now appealing to him. 
a ' Rec. des Hist./ hi. 609 ; Job. 
Sarisb., Ep. 145, col. 136, where 
it is mentioned that his aid 
was sought by combatants from 
Burgundy and Italy, and that 
Robert de Montfort had resorted 
to him when about to do battle 
with Henry of Essex in 1163. Du- 
c.ange identifies the shrine of St. 

Drausius with that spoken of by 
the audacious Frank who in the 
first crusade seated himself on the 
Byzantine emperor's seat the hero 
of Scott's ' Robert of Paris.' (See- 
Gibbon, v. 436, ed. Milman, 1846.) 

b See Appendix XXIV. 

c The ' Historia Vizeliacensis,' 
by Hugh of Poitiers, speaks of Sa- 
racens (Patrol, cxciv. 1592) ; but is 
there any other mention of these 
as having penetrated so far into 
France ? Perhaps we ought to un- 
derstand Northmen, from whom no, 

A.D. 1166. 



relics of St. Mary Magdalene, which it boasted, a attracted 
devotees and wealth ; it was favoured with exemptions 
and other privileges by a succession of popes, from the 
great Nicolas downwards ; b and the continual squabbles 
of the monks with the Bishop of Autun about jurisdic- 
tion, and with the Counts of Nevers and other neigh- 
bours about temporalities, are related in one of the 
liveliest among monastic chronicles. 6 At Vezelay the 
second crusade had been inaugurated by the irresistible 
eloquence of St. Bernard in 1146, when the King and 

part of the country was then safe. 
We have already seen that the 
name of Saracens was given to mis- 
believers in general (p. 140, note b ). 

a The genuineness of these, 
however, is contested. " They 
may," says Alban Butler, "be a 
portion of the body of St. Mary 
Magdalene, or of some other Mary 
mentioned in the Gospel." (July 
22.) In 1164 a fire had broken 
out in the night, when a wooden 
image of the Blessed Virgin 
escaped without any injury be- 
yond being discoloured by smoke. 
The workman to whom it was 
entrusted for repair observed some 
indication of an opening between 
the shoulders, and, on further exa- 
mination, it was found to contain 
a quantity of very precious relics, 
hairs of the Virgin, part of her 
dress, a bone of St. John the Bap- 
tist, fragments of our Lord's pur- 
ple robe, of the clothes of Shad- 
rach, Meshach, and Abednego, 
&c. (Hugo Pictav., 1660.) 

b For a time it had been subject 
to Cluny (see Bern., Epp. 150-2) ; 

but Alexander, by a letter dated at 
Montpellier, on his way to Italy, had 
lately restored it to independence, 
as the Cluniacs had sided with the 
Antipope. (Ep. 79 ; Patrol., cc.) 
c This reaches to the year after 
that of Becket's visit ; but unhap- 
pily the writer is, like a true monk, 
too much intent on the monastic 
concerns to notice the visit at all. 
The preaching of the crusade is 
mentioned only because it brought 
St. Bernard to act as arbitrator be- 
tween the Vezelay monks and the 
Count of Nevers. (Patrol., cxciv. 
1595.) It appears from the his- 
tory that the abbot was absent at 
Whitsuntide, 1166, although he 
returned for St. Mary Magdalene's 
day. (ib.1678.) The Archbishop, 
therefore, must have been received 
by the prior, Geoffrey, who was an 
Englishman. (1676.) Becket and 
the Archbishop of Lyons (Gui- 
chard, formerly abbot of Pontigny) 
had lately been engaged in an 
attempt to mediate between the 
abbot and the hereditary enemy, 
the Count of Nevers. (1672.) 



Queen of France were the first to take the cross, and 
the saintly abbot, on finding that the stock of crusading 
badges was exhausted, tore up his own dress to furnish a 
fresh supply ; a and here again it was that in 1190 
Eichard of England and Philip Augustus of France met 
on their way to the Holy Land. b 

On Whitsunday the Archbishop preached and cele- 
brated mass in the great church of the abbey. In the 
pulpit he entered into a statement of the differences be- 
tween himself and the King, of the measures which had 
been taken against him, and the failure of his attempts to 
bring Henry to a better mind. Then, with the awful 
forms provided by the Koman ritual, he pronounced the 
sentence of excommunication against John of Oxford, for 
his intercourse with schismatics and for his intrusion into 
the deanery of Salisbury ; d and a like sentence against 
Eichard de Luci, Eanulf de Broc, and others, for having 
advised measures against the good of the Church, for 
having invaded her property, and other such offences. 
He suspended Joscelin, Bishop of Salisbury, for having 
admitted John to the deanery of his church, on the 
King's nomination, without a canonical election and 
against the Pope's command. He anathematized six of 
the Constitutions of Clarendon in particular, with all who 

a Odo de Deogilo, Patrol, clxxxv. 

b Bromton, 1173. 

c See Appendix XXV. 

d The late Dean having been 
advanced to the bishopric of 
Bayeux, the Pope had forbidden 
the election of a successor during 

the absence of some of the canons, 
who were in exile with the Arch- 
bishop ; but the Bishop, in order to 
remove the King's displeasure 
against him, had consented to 
admit John as Dean. Thorn. Epp. 
146, 216; Fitzst., i. 258; Herb., 
vii. 231 ; Froude, 154. 

A.D. 1166. 



should act on them ; and he absolved the English 
bishops from their engagement to observe them. It had 
been his intention to extend the sentence of excommu- 
nication to the King himself; but at Kigny, a Cistercian 
monastery near Auxerre, where he had lodged on the 
night before his arrival at Vezelay, he had been informed 
that Henry was seriously ill. He therefore contented 
himself with summoning him to repent, and threatening 
to excommunicate him if he should persist in his courses. a 
Among the great concourse of people in whose presence 
these censures were uttered, there were none who were 
more surprised at hearing them than the clerks of the 
Archbishop's company; for Herbert tells us that in 
the many consultations which had taken place his master 
had given no hint of his purpose, and that he himself 
and his brethren had followed him from Pontigny without 
suspecting it. b 

The tidings of the scene which had passed at Vezelay 
were speedily carried in all directions, and naturally pro- 
duced a great excitement : it was supposed by many that 
the Archbishop intended to follow up his threats by pro- 
nouncing at the same place, on the feast of the patron 
St. Mary Magdalene, a sentence of excommunication 
against the King's person. 

The Archbishop forthwith despatched letters an- 

tt Job. Sarisb., Ep. 145. 

b vii. 230. Herbert, as has been 
already said in the Appendix 
( XXV.),dates the scene on St.Mary 
Magdalene's day, and mentions only 
the threat against the King, saying 

nothing of the excommunications. 
John of Salisbury protests that he 
had not advised or been privy to 
the excommunication, Ep. 180. 

c iii. 196. See the end of Ap- 
pendix XXV. 




nouncing his late proceedings to the clergy and laity of 
his province, and requiring the bishops to carry out his 
denunciations.* On St. John the Baptist's day (June 24) 
the bishops and abbots met in London, and agreed (al- 
though it would seem not unanimously) b to appeal to 
the Pope against him fixing on Ascension-day in the 
following year as the time. The writers of Becket's 
party, d and those of later times who espouse his cause, 
exult greatly over the fact that, on this and other occa- 
sions, the King and his friends had recourse to appeals 
" an expedient," says Dr. Lingard, " which had been 
prohibited by the Constitutions of Clarendon." e As, 
however, the utmost that was intended by the constitu- 
tion in question was to prevent the practice of appealing 
without the King's consent/ the charge of inconsistency 
has hardly even a superficial appearance of justice. 

On St. Paul's day, as the Bishop of London was offi- 
ciating at the altar in his Cathedral, the Pope's letter, 
announcing the appointment of Becket as legate, was 
delivered to him by an unknown person ; g but, although 
Foliot wrote to the King in apparent perplexity as to the 
course which he should take, he soon resolved to disre- 

a Epp. 73, 80. 

b Will. Cant., ii. 20. 

c See Foliot, Epp. 437, 470, 
472, &c. 

d E. g. Job. Sarisb., i. 286, ed. 

e ii. 150. Cf. Nat. Alex., xiv. 

f We have seen that Foliot ex- 
plained it as meaning much less 

than this. See p. 98. 

g Fol., Ep. 275. Mr. Froude, 
misled by the false date of the 
commission (see p. 182), and over- 
looking the Commemoration of St. 
Paul (June 30), supposes this to 
have been on the feast of the 
Apostle's conversion, Jan. 25, 1167. 
(190, 234.) 


gard the letter and a summons which the Archbishop sent 
him to attend on him in the place of his exile. a Nor 
was any respect generally paid to the charge that all 
Christians should avoid the society of those who had 
been denounced at Vezelay. b 

Letters, long, able, and bitter, were now exchanged 
between the Archbishop and his suffragans ; among them 
was that remarkable " pamphlet " of Foliot, which has 
been often quoted in the preceding pages. The Pope, 
soon after, confirmed the suspension of the Bishop of 
Salisbury, with the other sentences pronounced at Veze- 
lay, and ordered that all persons who were in possession 
of benefices belonging to the exiles should restore them 
and make satisfaction. 

Henry had for some time been endeavouring to deprive 
Becket of the support and hospitality which he received 
from the Cistercians. He was especially indignant at 
finding that some members of their order had conveyed 
letters from the Archbishop into England; and the 
influence of the Pope had been necessary to counteract 
the effect of the royal threats on the abbots of Citeaux 
and Pontigny. d The excommunications at Vezelay pro- 
voked the King to more urgent measures ; e and at the 

Fitzst., i. 253. 

b Joh. Sar., Ep. 180, col. 178, C. 
There is a curious passage as to 
the degree in which the excom- 
munication is to be observed. Ib. 
Ep. 181, col. 180, C. 

Alex. ap. Thorn., Epp. 209, 
210-3, 239. 

d Henric. ap. Foliot, Ep. 485; 

Alex., ib. 293-5 ; Thorn, iii. 11. 

e Many writers (among them M. 
Thierry, iii. 143, and M. Michelet, 
iii. 173) connect with the Vezelay 
excommunications the account 
given in one of the epistles, of a 
transport of rage into which Henry 
was thrown by the receipt of some 
unfavourable tidings. Lord Camp- 




general chapter of the order, which was held at Citeaux 
in the month of September, an intimation was given that, 
if the Archbishop were any longer harboured in any of 
their monasteries, the King of England would confiscate 
all the property of the order within his dominions. The 
abbot of Pontigny protested " by his orders " that a friend 
of God, who had been committed to their care by the 
Pope, must not be sacrificed for such a reason, and many 
other abbots are said to have thrown themselves at the 
feet of their chief, entreating him not to abandon their 
guest. a But more timid counsels prevailed : the Cis- 
tercians, who had already suffered expulsion from the Im- 
perial territories for their adhesion to Alexander, b were 
not disposed to incur the threatened penalty ; and the 
abbot of Citeaux, with the Bishop of Pavia (who had 
been a Cistercian monk), and other eminent members of 
the order, proceeded to Pontigny for the purpose of 
stating to the Archbishop the difficulties which their 
entertainment of him had brought on them. The King's 
letter was read over to him, and he was requested to 
choose his own course. The meaning of this, and the looks 
by which the words were accompanied, were not to be 
mistaken ; the order would not turn him out, but would 
feel itself greatly relieved by his voluntary departure. 

bell, who makes no mention of the 
excommunications, says that it was 
caused by " receiving a despatch 
disclosing a new machination of 
the Archbishop " (i. 87). If his 
Lordship had really consulted " Ep. 
i. 44 " (Thorn. Ep. 378, ed. Giles), 

which he affects to quote, he would 
have seen that the occasion had 
nothing to do with Becket. 

a Gamier, 96. 

b Chron. Clarsevall. A.D. 1166, 
Patrol, clxxxv. 


Becket at once declared that lie would not be a burden 
to the friends who had so long sheltered him in his 
distress : he would go wherever he might find a place to 
lay his head, in confidence that God, who feeds the fowls 
of the air and clothes the lilies of the field, would provide 
for him and the companions of his exile. The abbot and 
brethren of Pontigny, who had been glad to have so dis- 
tinguished an inmate in their house, entreated him, even 
with tears, to remain with them a a request which would, 
perhaps, have been more meritorious if they had been 
among the victims on whom Henry's vengeance would 
have fallen. 

The Koman Breviary represents the King's threat to 
the Cistercians as having followed immediately on his 
learning the fact that they had afforded a refuge to his 
enemy. Most of the old biographers say nothing of any 
provocation given by the Archbishop, and the Breviary 
of Salisbury observes a like silence. The Quadrilogue, 
although Herbert is the principal author from whom it 
is derived, omits his account of the scene at Vezelay ; 
and a late biographer, although he relates the fact, yet 
thinks it too insignificant to deserve any mention in his 
table of contents, or in the heading of his chapter, which 
is simply " The Pope returns to Italy." But Dr. Lin- 
gard's manner of dealing with the matter is the most 
remarkable. This very learned and able writer, after 
stating that the Archbishop retired to Pontigny, devotes 
four pages to the affairs of Wales and Brittany, and 
then returns to the subject of Becket by telling us that 

Herb., vii. 236-7 ; Gervase, 1400. 




" amidst these transactions the eyes of the King were 
still fixed on the exile at Pontigny ;" that, " by a refine- 
ment of vengeance," he banished the Archbishop's 
kindred, and took other measures against him which we 
have already mentioned ; that " still Henry's resent- 
ment was implacable ;" that he caused the exile to be 
dismissed by the Cistercians; that Becket then found 
an asylum at Sens, and there took to a kind of reading 
from which his friends, " dreading the consequences, 
endeavoured to divert his attention ;" and that "at last, 
urged by the cries of the sufferers " and by " the vio- 
lence of Henry," he proceeded to utter his excommuni- 
cations. a This arrangement of the details is, indeed, 
fitted to produce a very different impression from that 
which would be made by a relation of them in their 
real order. The King's measures are here strung to- 
gether as the expressions of a restless and " insatiable " 
malignity, which, with " eyes still fixed on the exile of 
Pontigny," goes on from one cruelty to another without 
any fresh provocation. In truth, however, all these 
proceedings took place at two points of time and no 
more ; the banishment of the kindred, the seizure of 
effects, &c., on the return of the envoys from the Papal 
Court at Christmas, 1164, before Henry even knew that 
the fugitive Archbishop was at Pontigny ; the dislodging 
of the exiles after the excommunication of the King's 
adherents, and the solemn public threat of a like censure 

ii. 143, 147-8. In Dr. Lingard's 
finally corrected edition, for which 
he had the advantage of being 

able to consult the new materials 
published by Dr. Giles, these 
passages remain as before. 


against himself. It was at Pontigny that Becket in- 
flamed his mind by the studies against which John of 
Salisbury remonstrated ; it was from Pontigny that he 
set forth to utter his denunciations at Vdzelay ; and it 
was in consequence of his doings at Vezelay that the 
King procured his removal from Pontigny. 

Why, we may ask, did the old biographers, for the 
most part, omit the fact of the excommunications ? It 
was nothing private, obscure, or uncertain ; in their 
eyes it certainly cannot have been unimportant. By 
suppressing it, the King of England's conduct is made 
to appear unprovoked and altogether monstrous ; 
whereas, in reality, Becket's most intimate friends and 
most zealous partisans were shocked by the violence of 
the provocation. We are unable to see any other con- 
clusion than that the biographers and the compiler of 
the Quadrilogue wished to falsify the history ; and we 
leave the charitable ingenuity of the reader to discover 
some creditable way of accounting for the series of 
transpositions by which Dr. Lingard has so curiously 
changed its character. 

No one will maintain that the conduct of Henry 
in dislodging the Archbishop was magnanimous or 
admirable, even if judged by a standard which is not 
the highest. But neither was it very atrocious or in- 
excusable, as appears strongly from the circumstance 
that those who wish to represent it in this light have 
found themselves obliged to suppress the offence which 
prompted it. We would allow Dr. Lingard and the 
rest to inveigh against the King at will, if the fact were 
that he kept his " eyes still fixed on " a harmless exile, 




whose placid hours were divided between devotion, 
study, labours in the hayfield, and deeds of love ; if it 
were true that, out of mere " insatiable " malice, without 
any new incitement, he heaped affliction after affliction 
on this meek recluse, and at last forced the brotherhood 
which had sheltered him to turn him out of doors. But 
when the case is stated in its real form and order ; 
when it is considered that Becket had put the crown 
to a long course of the most vexatious conduct by pro- 
nouncing the highest censures of the Church on his 
Sovereign's advisers, by menacing the King himself 
with excommunication and his dominions with an inter- 
dict, by anathematizing his laws and releasing his 
subjects from their pledge to observe them ; when we 
consider that the violence of these acts alienated from 
the Primate some of the English bishops who before 
were favourable to him, and provoked the Archbishop 
of Eouen (" that most firm pillar of the Church," as 
John of Salisbury styles him) to declare that " all his 
actions proceeded either from pride or passion ;" a when 
we consider that Becket himself was so well aware of 
the extraordinary nature of his act that he did not ven- 
ture to consult his most confidential friends on it, out of 
fear that their dissuasions might overpower his wishes 
we cannot very greatly wonder that Henry should have 

8 Job. Sarisb., i. 279, ed. Giles. 
John's advice to his master on this 
is significant " You must meet 
this opinion by a display of mode- 
ration, as well in your deeds and 
words as in your bearing and habit ; 

yet all this ..vails but little with 
God unless it proceed from the 
secret chamber of your conscience" 
Eotrou's saying is also mentioned 
by Nicolas of Kouen, S. T. C., 
iv. 195. 

A.D. 1166. MISSION TO LOUIS. 195 

taken the readiest means which occurred to him of 
retaliating in such measure as he could. To abstain 
from retaliation would have been the part of a character 
very different from a Norman King of England from a 
prince or noble of that age; most assuredly it would 
have been the part of one very different from Becket 
himself. And if there seem to be something unworthy 
in the manner of the retaliation, even this may be in 
some degree palliated when we remember the circum- 
stances of the case that the Archbishop had fled from 
England, and that therefore it might very naturally be 
an object with Henry to make him feel that (as is some- 
where said in the correspondence) " the King had long 
hands ;" that even in a foreign territory, and under the 
protection of a foreign prince, a fugitive ecclesiastic was 
not altogether beyond his Sovereign's reach. 

Having resolved on leaving Pontigny, the Archbishop 
held a consultation with his clerks as to his future 
course. Herbert of Boshani reminded him that the 
King of France, at their first interview, had offered to 
support him in any city of his dominions which he might 
choose, and the Archbishop, after some hesitation, was 
persuaded to take advantage of the offer. Herbert was 
therefore despatched to state the circumstances to the 
King, who, on hearing his story, broke forth into severe 
reflections on the Cistercians : " religion ! religion ! 
whither art thou gone ? Lo, those whom we supposed to 
be dead to the world are afraid of the world's threats ; 
and for the perishable and fleeting things which they 
profess to have despised for God's sake, they cast out 
God's cause and him who is an exile for it ! " Then, 




turning to the envoy, "Greet the Archbishop in my 
name/' he said, " and tell him that, although the world 
and those who seem dead to the world desert him, yet 
I will not. Let him name to us any place in our do- 
minions where he would wish to settle, and he shall 
find it ready to receive him." a A man whose worldly 
interest it was to support Becket might well be right- 
eously indignant against those who followed their interest 
by getting rid of him. b The Archbishop fixed on the 
Benedictine monastery of St. Columba, near the city 
of Sens, and Louis sent a nobleman with three hun- 
dred mounted followers to escort him. 

It was about Martinmas d that the Archbishop left 
Pontigny, amid the lamentations of the monks, who 
crowded about him, entreating his blessing, and could 
not be restrained, either by the abbot's commands or by 
the duties of the choir, from following him far beyond 
the precincts, in order to catch a last look of him, and 
to contend for his last benediction. The abbot accom- 
panied him on his way, and, observing that he was sad 
(whereas, says Herbert, on a journey he was usually 
very free in talk, and a most cheerful companion), urged 

* Herb., vii. 238-241. 

b The King's support was far 
from steady. John of Salisbury 
speaks as if it were cooling very 
early in the day (i. 194, ed. Giles), 
and, as to its generosity, we find from 
John of Poitiers, about the same 
time, that Louis wished to provide 
for the Archbishop out of the 
revenues of some vacant see, " so 
as to keep his own funds unim- 

paired." S. T. C., vi. 250. 

c Ludov. ad Thorn, ap. Foliot, 
Ep. 506. Gamier says that the 
King himself rode to Pontigny, 
and, after thanking the monks 
for their hospitality to Becket, an- 
nounced his intention of receiving 
him at Sens (98). Diceto repre- 
sents him as having personally 
conducted the Archbishop, 517. 

d Gervase, 1401. 

A.D. 1166. 



him to tell the cause of his sorrow. After repeated 
entreaties, the Archbishop, under a promise of secrecy, 
said that he had been troubled by a vision during the 
night. He had found himself in a church, pleading his 
cause in the presence of the Koman conclave, the Pope 
hearing him with favour, while the Cardinals, in the 
interest of King Henry, opposed him ; when four knights 
entered, hurried him away, and cut off his tonsured 
crown. a The abbot is said to have observed with a smile, 
" How should one who eats and drinks as you do be a 
martyr ? The cup of wine which you drink accords ill 
with the cup of martyrdom." b And the Archbishop 
replied, " I own that I indulge too much in the pleasures 
of the body, yet, unworthy as I am, He who justifieth 
the ungodly hath vouchsafed to reveal this mystery to 
me." c The vision is said to have been imparted, a few 

Herb., vii. 244. We have 
already given a similar story from 
Grim, who places it earlier, and 
also tells us that one day at mass the 
Archbishop had a vision, in which 
it was said to him " Thomas, 
Thomas, thou shalt glorify Me by 
thy death " (i. 64). Comp. Fitzst., 
i. 251, and Gamier, 100-1, who 
relates that the Archbishop had 
visions of judgments on Foliot and 
Hilary of Chichester ; Foliot's 
flesh rotting and dropping to 
pieces. " The prophecy is fulfilled 
as to the Bishop of Chichester," 
says Gamier ; "let him of London 
beware." Gamier also mentions 
some miracles done by Becket at 
Pontiguy (94-5). A later legend 
represents the Archbishop as hav- 
ing prophesied that one of his 

successors (Edmund, see above, p. 
163) would recompense the mo- 
nastery for its hospitality to him 
(S. T. C., ii. 300). 

b "Quid esculento, temulento, et 
martyri ? 

' Non bene conveniunt, nee in una sedo 
morantur ' 

calix vini quern potas, et calix mar- 

Will. Cant. ii. 18. Notwith- 
standing all that is said as to 
Becket's concealment of his aus- 
terities, and although the abbot's 
speech may be nothing more than 
a token of monastic narrowness, 
unable to conceive any sanctity or 
abstinence except after the very 
fashion of his own order, the 
accusation and the reply must 
strike us with some surprise. 




days later, and under the same obligation to secrecy, to 
the abbot of Val-luisant, another Cistercian community ; 
and both the depositaries of the secret are said to have 
faithfully kept it until after it had been verified by the 
event. a This is not exactly in the manner of Scripture 
prophecy, where, although the meaning might not 
appear until after the fulfilment, there was never any 
concealment of the words. 

Becket had scrupled to exchange his monastic soli- 
tude for the neighbourhood of a populous city ; but to 
some of his companions, at least, the removal would 
seem to have been very welcome. Herbert is profuse in 
his admiration of the fertile soil and mild climate of 
Sens, and in his praises of the inhabitants for their 
politeness, their cultivation, hospitality, and sociable 
qualities. b The Archbishop, Hugh, received him with 
honour, and after the death of this prelate, in February, 
1168, c Becket found in his successor, William, one of 
his warmest supporters ; d while all classes joined in doing 
honour to the guests whom the King had commended to 
them. The abbey of St. Columba, a virgin martyr of 
Sens, who is said to have suffered in the reign of the 
Emperor Aurelian. 6 stands at some distance without the 
city, and, although little of the ancient buildings now 
remains, is still a religious house, being occupied by a 
sisterhood of nuns. On the south of it, the river Yonne 

8 Herb. vii. 244 ; Bened. Petrib. 

b vii. 242, 246. 

c Gallia Christiana, xii. 50. 

d Fitzst., i. 252. See William's 
letters, Epp. Thorn., 324, sqq. Wil- 

liam was brother - in - law of King 
Louis, and nephew of Stephen of 
England. In 1176 he was trans- 
lated to Eheims. 

e See Butler's Lives of the 
Saints, Dec. 31. 


From De Caumont's ' Abec6daire d'Archeologie. 

A.D. 1166. 



flows under a steep and lofty bank, which perhaps 
already in Becket's time may have been clothed, as it 
now is, with vineyards. All around on the other sides 
is a wide and fertile plain, bounded on the north by a 
distant range of hills ; and in the middle ground rises 
the city, with its cathedral, coeval with the very time of 
the Archbishop's residence.* 1 At Sens the memory of 
St. Thomas of Canterbury is still preserved by an altar 
at which he is supposed to have said mass, and by a 
chasuble, mitre, albe, maniple, and other vestments 
which are among the treasures of the cathedral. b But a 
more important memorial of his residence at Sens is to 
be found in his own metropolitical city ; for doubtless it 
was at the suggestion of his companions in exile that 
when, four years after his death, the choir of Canterbury 
was destroyed by fire, an artist of Sens was chosen for 
the task of rebuilding it ; c and to this is to be traced 
the remarkable similarity in style and ornament which 
exists between the French cathedral and that in which 
for centuries " St. Thomas the Martyr " was enshrined 
as the most prominent object of devotion. 

a The Chronicle of Sens men- 
tions its consecration by Pope 
Alexander in 1164,but saysnothing 
of Becket's connexion with Sens. 
(Kec. des Hist. xii. 287-9.) M. 
Viollet le Due (t. i. p. 349) says 
that the exact dates of the build- 
ing are not known, but that under 
Archbishop Hugh de Toucy, A.D. 

1144-68, the works were in full 
activity. See also Willis, Archi- 
tect. Hist, of Canterbury, 35. 

* See Appendix XXVI. 

c See Gervas. De Combustione 
et Kepar. Cant. Eccl. in Twysden, 
1290 sqq. ; and Willis's History of 
the Cathedral. 

( 200 ) 


COMMISSIONS. A.D. 1167-9. 

THE negotiations which took place between Becket's 
removal to Sens and his final reconciliation with the 
King were very complicated, and the difficulty of follow- 
ing these is vastly increased by the disorder of the mass 
of letters which relates to them ; nor is it probable that 
any full detail of their intricacies would be found attrac- 
tive by readers in general. All, therefore, that shall 
here be attempted is to give some account of the most 
prominent and important transactions. 

The announcement of the excommunications at Veze- 
lay greatly distressed the Pope, who, although, as we 
have seen, he confirmed Becket's proceedings, had 
strong political and pecuniary reasons for avoiding any 
breach with Henry. John of Oxford on appearing at 
Eome as an envoy from the King was favourably re- 
ceived, notwithstanding his excommunication and not- 
withstanding the clamorous entreaties of Becket that no 
hearing might be granted to a perjured schismatic who 
" bore the mark of the beast on his forehead." a He 
placed his deanery of Salisbury in the Pope's hands ; his 
excuses for his intrusion were accepted, and he was 
formally established in the office. With the facility 

iii. 9. 

A.D. 1166-7. 



which procured for him from John of Salisbury the 
epithet of " that famous swearer," a he swore whatever 
he supposed to be for his master's interest promising, 
it is said, even that some of the Constitutions should be 
abandoned. b By the use of bribery to the officers of 
the Koman Chancery, he obtained copies of all Becket's 
letters to the papal court ; c and he returned home in a 
triumphant mood " exalting himself above all that is 
called God or that is worshipped," as John of Salisbury 
describes him. As he went through France, he boasted 
that he had obtained an exemption from the juris- 
diction of Becket, and of all but the Pope ; d "if we 
may believe rumours, and the bragging of our oppo- 
nents," writes John of Salisbury, " it was rather the 
King who was afraid or ashamed to ask more than Eome 
that was ashamed to endure." e Henry declared that 
" now he had the Pope and Cardinals in his purse ;" 
that he was now like his grandfather, who, within his 
own dominions, had been " King, papal legate, patriarch, 
and whatever he wished." f Louis was seriously alarmed 
by the reports which reached him ; and some of the 
English bishops, who were on the point of going abroad 
in obedience to a citation from the Primate, returned to 
their sees, on being told by John of Oxford and the King 

a Joh. Sarisb., Epp. 198, 201, 
203, 293, &c. 

b iii. 352. 

c vi. 256. 

d S. T. C. iii. 31, 215 ; Lombard, 
ib., iv. 208. 

e Ep. 202. Comp. his remon- 
strance with the Pope, Ep. 198, 

and in Herb. Epp. 24-5 (S. T. C. 
viii.), remonstrances addressed to 
Alexander in the names of Henry 
Count of Troyes, and of the pre- 
centor of Sens. The defence of 
the Pope's conduct in this matter 
by Baronius (1167. 66) is curious. 
f Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 239. 




that the Pope would warrant their disregard of it. a The 
King's cousin, Koger of Worcester, alone obeyed the 
summons, and consequently remained in exile for some 
years. b 

By means of John and other emissaries Henry had 
obtained a legatine commission, consisting of two car- 
dinals, William of Pavia and Otho, c whose appointment 
was announced by the Pope to Becket with the assur- 
ance that he might thoroughly trust them. d William, 
however, a man of smooth and plausible speech, had 
before been noted as an opponent of the Archbishop, 
and devoted to Henry's interest ; e and William of Can- 
terbury tells us that both cardinals were greedy and cor- 
rupt, " and, but that they were my lord Pope's legates, 
were worthy rather of relegation than of delegation." f 
"William," writes John of Salisbury, "looks to the 
King's wealth, not to the fear of God or the honour of 
the Church. The other is a man of good repute, yet a 
Roman and a Cardinal." g " To speak my mind," he 
says in another letter, "the one of them fears man 
too much, and the other does not reverence God." h So 
long as this commission was in force, the Archbishop's 
power of excommunicating, and the sentences already 
pronounced by him, were suspended ; and it was granted 

a Thorn. Ep. 355 ; Job. Sarisb., 
Ep. 239. 

b Fitzst., i. 255 ; Gamier, 94, ed. 

c Alex, ad Henr., ap. Thorn., 
Ep. 309 (Dec. 20, 1166), Ep. 299 
(Jan. 1167). Of the latter a copy 
was privily taken for Becket. See 
Jaffe, 712-3. Here again Baronius 

is amusing (1167, 63 sqq.}. 

" Ap. Thorn. Ep. 215 (Jan. 1167). 

Will. Cant., ii. 22-3 ; Joh. Sa- 
risb., Ep. 224. See p. 151 ; and 
comp. Joh. Sarisb., Epp. 59, 201, 
231. For a notice of William see 
Goussainville, in Pet. Bles., Ep. 48. 

f S. T. C., ii. 22. 

e Ep. 202. b Ep. 229. 



also that, in the matter of excommunication, the King 
should be exempted from all authority but that of the 
Pope himself. 

The proceedings of the cardinals took up the greater 
part of the year 1167. William announced their arrival 
in France to Becket in a somewhat magisterial style ; a 
and the Archbishop wrote two answers, which, one after 
the other, were set aside at the instance of John of 
Salisbury. " Indeed," says John, of the first, " I do 
not think that even the Pope's running varlet ought to 
be spoken to in this way. If the Cardinal send his own 
letter and yours to the Pope, they will seem a justifica- 
tion of the King's cause, and a proof of your contu- 
macy, under your own hand." b Becket threw about 
protestations and denunciations on all sides. He excom- 
municated all who, in obedience to the King, were con- 
cerned in watching the English ports, or in hindering 
the carrying of appeals to Rome, and it was in vain 
that John of Salisbury endeavoured to restrain him 
from issuing anathemas against all who intercepted the 
revenues of his clerks. In his letters to the Pope and 
others he used a strange vehemence of language : 
" How," he asks, " can any one confide in the Eoman 
Church, since it has thus deserted and stripped us, 
when standing up for it, and contending for it even 
unto blood ?" d He endeavoured to procure the recall 

a iii. 241. " Litteras non penitus 
pompositatis gloria carentes nobis 
destinavit," says Becket to Car- 
dinal Hyacinth (afterwards Pope 
Ccelestine III.). Ib. 131. 

b Job. Sarisb., Ep. 220. His 
objections to the second draft are 
in Ep. 232. 

c Job., Ep. 184, cols. 190-1. 

d iii. 216. 




of the cardinals,* and declared that he would never 
admit William of Pa via as an arbiter, even if he should 
be excommunicated for his refusal. b He repeatedly 
alludes to a rumour that the Cardinal had been bribed 
by a promise of succeeding to the see of Canterbury, if a 
vacancy could be effected, and on the strength of this he 
charges William, even in a letter addressed to himself, 
with " thirsting for his blood." But, although the Pope 
was supposed to favour the scheme of a translation, and 
Becket himself had formerly been inclined to it, c he now 
protested that he would rather die than be torn from his 
church. d He states that the success of John of Oxford 
had induced many of the French nobles to give up the 
cause of the Church as hopeless, and to dismiss the 
exiles whom they had entertained ; some of these, he 
adds, had already perished from cold and hunger. 6 

In the summer of 1167 important events took place 
in Italy. The Emperor had advanced to Kome, where 
he was crowned by the Anti-Pope Paschal on the 30th 
of July, while the Pope was driven to escape from 
the city in disguise, and to seek refuge at Benevento. 
But a great pestilence which broke out among the 
Germans speedily changed the face of affairs. Five- 
and-twenty thousand of Frederick's followers died, 
among them the indefatigable Keginald of Cologne, 

iii. 118. 

b iii. 130, 146, 149, 217, 241-2 ; 
Will. Cant., ii. 22, &c. It is on 
this occasion that Dr. Giles makes 
him protest the " voracious dull- 
ness " which has been mentioned, 

p. 172. 

Herb., vii. 224. 

d iii. 153, 217, 219. 
Sarisb., Ep. 219. 

iii. 217. 

Cf. Joh. 



with many others of the Emperor's most important ad- 
herents, and Frederick himself was compelled to a pre- 
cipitate and ignominious retreat. In this calamity Becket, 
well acquainted as he was with the policy of Kome, dis- 
cerned the prospect of advantage to himself, and, imme- 
diately on receiving the news, he addressed a letter to 
the Pope. " Never," he said, " since the world began, 
has God's power been more manifestly displayed, if we 
rightly consider the event, than in this judgment on the 
new Sennacherib." Again he complains of William of 
Pavia as having fulfilled his worst forebodings by his 
" presumption and insolence ;" and he entreats the 
Pope to take a bolder course to draw forth the sword of 
St. Peter for vengeance on those who had done wrong to 
Christ and his people.* These entreaties, or the events 
on which they were grounded, were not without some 
effect in his favour, although the Pope still acted with 

After having visited King Henry at Caen, the legates 
had an interview near Gisors with the Arch- 
bishop, who, according to Herbert, had been 
warned against the smooth speeches of William, " which 
yet were very swords," by a vision in which poison was 
offered to him in a golden cup. b The cardinals began 

Nov. 18. 

a Ep. 6. Cf. Joh. Sar., Epp. 
201, 218, 220. 

b vii. 248. Gamier, who con- 
founds the meeting near Gisors 
with that at Montmirail (see 
below), says that the vision was 

on the night before that meeting. 
The Archbishop did not like the 
look of the wine, when lo! two 
great spiders rose up from the 
bottom. Next morning he related 
and expounded the vision to his 


by dwelling on the labours and fatigues which they 
had lately endured, on the power of Henry and his 
former kindness to Becket, on the King's complaints 
that the Archbishop had stirred up Louis and the Count 
of Flanders against him, on the necessity of a moderate 
and conciliatory spirit in the dangerous circumstances 
of the time. They asked the Archbishop whether he 
would observe the customs which his predecessors had 
observed in the reigns of earlier Kings : to which he 
replied, that he was ready to yield the King any obe- 
dience consistent with God's honour, the liberty and 
temporal rights of the Church, and his own credit ; but 
that he would never consent to a profession which had 
not been exacted of his predecessors, or pledge himself 
to constitutions which had been condemned by the Pope 
as opposed to the law of God and destructive of eccle- 
siastical liberty. The Constitutions were read aloud, and 
he asked, " Are these things to be observed ?" whereupon 
the cardinals, apparently at a loss for a reply, passed on 
to another point. He was then asked whether he would 
consent to return to his see without any stipulation as 
to the customs : by this expedient, it was said, he might 
make sure of an implied withdrawal of the Constitutions, 
and at the same time might conciliate the King by not 
insisting on a formal abrogation of them. He replied 
that his silence would rather be regarded as an assent ; 
and, in answer to a question whether he would abide the 
judgment of the legates, he said that he could not do so 

clerks, " The cup is the King's I deceits ; the two great spiders are 
fair offers ; the troubled wine his I the cardinals " (105). 


unless the property of the Church were previously re- 
stored in full. a 

On the following day some envoys of the King of 
France appeared before the cardinals, and swore, in their 
master's name, that Becket had never given him any 
counsel but such as tended to peace with England and 
to the honour of both the Kings; and, after mutual 
benedictions, the Archbishop and the cardinals separated. b 

A week later a conference was held by the legates 
with Henry and some English prelates at Argentan. 
Foliot, as the leader of his party, inveighed bitterly 
against the Primate, whom he sarcastically spoke of as 
supposing that debts were washed away by his promo- 
tion, as sins were by baptism. The King, he said, would 
probably forsake the Koman Church if the bishops 
were to obey the Archbishop's mandates, and therefore, 
as the time of their original appeal had already expired, 
he declared that he and his brethren appealed until Mar- 
tinmas in the following year against any fresh proceedings 
on the part of the Primate. The King was disgusted 
at finding that he had been deceived as to the powers of 
the legates a more limited commission having been 
substituted, at the instance of Becket and the French 
bishops, for that which had been promised to John of 
Oxford, so that they had no authority to go into England 

R Thomi, Ep. 7 ; Job. Sarisb., 
Ep. 227 ; Fol., Ep. 404 ; S. T. C., 
ii. 248 ; Herb., vii. 250-1. 

b Job. Bar., Ep. 227 ; S. T. C., 
iv. 276; Gervase, 1402. "They 
ought," says John, " to have be- 
lieved the King on his oath, but 

that, measuring others by their 
own morality, they trust neither 
God nor man where the hope of 
deceitful money shines on them " 
(Ep. 231). 

c Job. Sarisb., Ep. 228 ; S. T. C., 
iv. 271. 




or to arbitrate unless a reconciliation should have been 
before effected.* For a time he treated them with studied 
disrespect ; but, at taking leave, he requested them with 
tears to befriend him at the court of Kome. William, it 
is said, was infected by the contagion of crying, while 
Otho was hardly able to refrain from laughing; and 
they returned to Italy without having effected anything 
towards a reconciliation^ Some of the excommunicates 
had already been absolved by Geoffrey (of Monmouth), 
Bishop of St. David's, as the Pope had allowed their ab- 
solution if in danger of death, and they pleaded that this 
condition was satisfied by their being summoned to the 
Welsh wars ; c and the cardinals had granted the Bishops 
of Norwich and Winchester authority to absolve the rest. 
The Archbishop, however, took especial care to publish 
a papal letter, by which it was declared that all those 
who should continue to detain the property of the Church 
must again fall under excommunication. d 

The Archbishop deliberated with his clerks whether 
the fresh appeal of the English bishops should be re- 
spected : and the decision was, that, as it was made not 
for the protection of right, but for the maintenance of 
wrong (i. e. as it was not for but against Becket's cause), 

- S. T. C., iii. 18 ; iv. 128, 268- 
272 ; Fol., Epp. 173, 408, 438, 441, 
471, 490. Herbert says that the 
King had sworn that the Arch- 
bishop should not in his reign re- 
turn to England (vii. 251). If so, it 
must have been a hasty outbreak. 

b S. T. 0., iv. 272. John of 
Salisbury reports further inter- 

views between the King and the 
legates severally (Ep. 261). At a 
later time, after the reconciliation, 
Becket writes to William, thanking 
him for his good offices (Ep. 71). 

c Job. Sarisb., Epp. 228, 240; 
Diceto, 539. 

d Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 228. 

A.D/1167. MISSIONS TO ROME. 209 

the inferior judge was not bound to regard it. a He then 
proceeded to excommunicate for disregard of his cita- 
tions and for other offences the Bishop of London b and 
his own archdeacon, Kidel (whom he sometimes styles 
" archidiafofris noster ") ; c and with these he included a 
multitude of clerks and laymen, who were concerned in 
invading the property of the see of Canterbury or the 
benefices of the exiled clergy. These censures lighted 
thickly among the persons immediately around the King. 
" Almost every one about the Court," says Herbert, " was 
excommunicated, either by name or as having commu- 
nion, which they were neither able nor at liberty to 
avoid, with those who were expressly named ; so that in 
the King's chapel there was hardly one who could offer 
him the kiss of peace at mass, but such as were excom- 
municated either by name or implicitly." 1 And the 
biographer goes on to give a lively description of the stir 
which arose in consequence : " The King and his party 
send and send again with all haste. Messengers upon 
messengers, and then fresh messengers, run, hurry, 
speed, to report these doings to the apostolic Pontiff. 

iii. 184 ; Herb., vii. 252. 

b Ep. 133 ; Fronde, 255. There 
are letters by William and Otho in 
favour of Foliot. Fol., Epp. 396, 

c e. g. iii. 52. For this he had 
the example of Innocent II., 
" Si quisquam laicus, aviditate 
rerum ecclesiasticarum, hoc sibi 
nomen vindicat, non decet archi- 
diaconus, sed archidiabolus, appel- 

There is a significant passage in a 
letter from John of Salisbury to 
the Archbishop " Si Londoniensis 
episcopus et vester archidiaconus 
recipiunt a Domino quod merentur, 
sibi imputent ; vos tamen videte an 
sententia vestra, si citatio non prse- 
cesserit, robur sit habitura. Nam 
utinam, sicut de merito, ita de jure 
et facto sortiri possit effectum." Ep. 

lari." (Ep. li. Patrol, clxxix.) d vii. 253. 




We on our part sent also ; our pious King of the French, 
too, to whose Court we in a manner now belonged, 
since we were his guests, sent in our behalf, repeatedly 
declaring that whosoever should touch us touched the 
apple of his eye. ... So now the threshold of the 
apostles was daily worn both by our friends and by our 
adversaries; they run up and down, they hurry, they 
speed, both the one party and the other." a The Pope 
was in a sore perplexity. He was not disposed to offend 
Henry, and was much annoyed by the Archbishop's hasty 
and headstrong proceedings ; yet he was not willing to 
abandon him. b And if the " gilded and silvered words " 
of the English King's emissaries weighed more than the 
" shabby, ink-written words " of the exiles, yet, on the 
other hand, there was the influence of Louis, who zeal- 
ously espoused the Archbishop's cause, and prayed that 
the excommunications might be sustained; and other 
potentates are said to have concurred in the request. 
As, therefore, it would have been awkward to quarrel 
with either party, the Pope judged it most expedient to 
persuade them to make up their quarrels ; and with this 
view he wrote letters which raised up a host of peace- 
makers influential personages, both lay and clerical, 
busily endeavouring to mediate. 

Henry, by means . of Clarembald of St. Augustine's, 
and Keginald, archdeacon of Salisbury/ obtained a sus- 

a vii. 253-4. 
* Ib. 256. 
= Ib. 254. 

d Keginald was son of the bishop, 
Joscelin. He afterwards became 

Bishop of Bath and Wells, and 
eventually Archbishop of Canter- 
bury. Becket abuses him violently, 
Ep. 93. 


pension of the Archbishop from dealing forth censures; 
until a reconciliation should have been effected.* The 
Pope seems to have granted this, in August, 1167, with- 
out any limitation of time, in the full belief that the 
reconciliation would not be long delayed ; b we must not 
therefore tax him with any remarkably bad faith for 
announcing to the Archbishop in May, 1168, that the 
suspension was to last only until the beginning of the 
following Leiit. c To this limitation of it he was probably 
induced, not only by the progress of the Emperor's mis- 
fortunes, but by the reports which had reached him as to 
the indignation excited in Louis and the French bishops 
by Henry's triumphant displays of the document which he 
had procured, and by the triumph with which the English 
King's envoys on their return through France had boasted 
of their master's influence at the Papal Court. d 

As months went on without any approach to a recon- 
ciliation, the Pope appointed a fresh commission, consist- 
ing of Simon, prior of Mont-Dieu ; Engelbert, prior of Yal 
St. Pierre ; and Bernard de la Coudre e (or de Corilo), a 
monk of the order of Grammont. f Bernard, according 
to a letter of his colleagues, was bound by the customs 
of his order to abstain from the use of pen and ink, so 

a Fitzst., 359 ; Brial, 313. John 
of Salisbury says that Henry had 
threatened to throw the legates 
into prison unless the Archbishop's 
power of interdicting were re- 
called, ii. 166, ed. Giles. 

b Thorn., Ep. 305. 

c Ib. 222. 

d vi. 210, 221 ; vii. 220. 

e " De la Coldrc," Gamier, 10G. 

(Coudre, a hazel.) 

f This order had received special: 
favours from Henry, who in return 
enjoyed its prayers (see Bern, in 
Brial, 470, 638-9; Buss, 550), so 
that the Archbishop of Eheims 
supposed the commissioner to be 
in. the King's interest (Joh. Sar.,. 
Ep. 285). See Brial, 322, &c. 




that lie might not write even to the Pope himself ; a but 
perhaps his genius may have been all the more active in 
practical matters. These commissioners were charged 
with two letters to Henry, containing respectively ex- 
hortations to peace and threats of punishment, the 
second to be delivered if the first should be found in- 
effectual. 11 There was now a general wish for an 
accommodation. Henry had spoken of taking the cross 
and going .to Jerusalem, if peace could be established 
with the Archbishop; and he was at least heartily 
desirous of peace, although the opposite party tax him 
with insincerity in his offer of concessions for the sake of 
it, such as that appeals to Rome should be freely 
allowed, and that clerks should not be brought before 
the secular courts.* 1 The French King was eager to act 
as a mediator ; and the banished clergy, weary of their 
exile, were willing to meet any conciliatory measures. 6 
The King, who in the preceding year had again been in 
communication with the anti-papal party/ who had 
lately declared that he was ready to ally himself with the 
Musulmans, and even to embrace "the errors of Nou- 

* " In ordine suo inhibitum est " 
(iv. 177). "Fratrum Grandimon- 
tensium consuetude non st ut 
scribant alicui " (ib. 179). There 
is, however, no such prohibition in 
the .rule or other documents of the 
order, as : printed by Martene, De 
Antiquis Eccl. Eitibus, t. iv. the 
nearest approach being c. 24 : 
" Prsecipimus ut de rebus vobis 
datis vel dandis nusquani scrip- 
turn causa placitandi faciatis, nee 

etiam placitare praesumatis ;" and 
there are letters of Bernard him- 
self in the Kec. des Hist., xvi. 
750-2, &c., or in Patrol., cciv. 

b iv. 113. 

c Herb., vii. 258. 

d Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 242. 

e See e. g. Joh. Sarisb., i. 278, 
ed. Giles. 

f 8. T. C., vi. 279 ; Joh. Sar., 
Ep. 142. 


reddin " (the great enemy of the Christians in the 
Holy Land) rather than admit Thomas as Archbishop,* 
now changed his line of action, and endeavoured to 
obtain the Pope's consent to the Archbishop's deposition 
or translation by offering to subsidize Alexander's allies, 
the anti-Imperialist cities of Lombardy, to pay the Pope's 
heavy debts, to give him a large sum of money, and to 
purchase for him the interest of the venal Komans, who 
still kept him an exile from his city. b But, although the 
expedient of a translation was supported by many per- 
sons of influence, Becket steadily professed that he would 
not give up the rights of his church ; that he would 
rather die (a profession which, although doubtless sin- 
cere, is somewhat too often repeated) than consent to 
desert her cause by a resignation of his see. 

On the Epiphany, 1169, the Kings of France and 
England held a conference on political affairs at Mont- 
mirail, near Chartres, where Louis induced Becket to be 
present. The Papal commissioners were also there, and 
have left their report of the proceedings. Herbert of 
Bosham represents himself as engaged in advising his 
master to beware of repeating the weakness which he 
had shown at Clarendon, when the Archbishop, before 
he could answer, was summoned into the presence of the 
Kings. d He fell on his knees before Henry, who im- 
mediately raised him up. Becket then lamented the 
differences which had arisen, charging all the evil of 
them on his own insufficiency, and concluded by saying, 

* Joh., Ep. 244. 

b Ib., Ep. 288 ; Thorn., Ep. 4. 

c Thorn., Ep. 338. 
d vii. 261. 




that he threw himself wholly on the King's mercy, 
" saving the honour of God." This reservation took by 
.surprise many of those who had advised him to conces- 
sion, and believed that they had prevailed with him ; 
and, although the Archbishop professed to have substi- 
tuted "salvo honore Dei" for "salvo ordine nostro" 
from a wish to avoid the repetition of the offensive 
formula, the King would not admit any distinction 
between the two, but burst into a violent fit of passion. 
To allow such a phrase, he said, would seem as if he 
himself had no regard for Clod's honour. a After having 
reproached Becket with his pride, ingratitude, and dis- 
loyalty, " See," he cried to the King of France, " how 
foolishly and proudly this man has deserted his church, 
not driven out by me, but secretly running off by night. 
He would persuade you that he is a champion for the 
Church, and by this pretext has deceived people both 
many and great. But I have always allowed and wished, 
and I still do so, that he should hold and govern his 
church as freely as any of his predecessors." He asked 
Becket whether he would yield him that amount of 
obedience which his five predecessors since the Conquest 
some of them saints and workers of miracles had 
shown to the least of former Kings, b or that which by 

a Job. Sarisb., ii. 199. 

b M. Thierry characterises this 
proposal as " evidently ironical, 
and containing at least as much of 
mental reservation as Becket could 
have put into the clause ' saving 
-God's honour ' " (iii. 151). There 
is, however, a very clear difference 

between the two; nor does the 
idea of irony appear to have en- 
tered into the mind of any who 
were present (see, e. g., Job. Sar., 
ii. 199, ed. Giles). William and 
Otho had made a similar proposal 
(iii. 20 ; sup. p. 206). 

A.D. 1169. 



the evidence of a hundred men from England and a 
hundred from Normandy and Anjou should appear to 
have been formerly customary ; a and he professed him- 
self willing to leave the matter to be decided by the 
bishops of France. All who were present declared that 
the King could not be expected to humble himself 
further. " My Lord Archbishop," said Louis, " do you 
seek to be more than a saint ? " and the Pope's 
commissioners, with many princes and nobles, en- 
treated the Archbishop to submit. But he still 
remained inflexible. No such promise, he said, had 
ever been required from any of his predecessors, except 
the blessed Anselrn, b who had twice gone into banish- 
ment rather than consent. It was true that former 
Archbishops had borne with many abuses ; but, as they 
had corrected much evil, so it was his duty to strive 
against that which still remained. All were disgusted 
at this pertinacity. The Kings left the meeting without 
saluting him ; the French nobles loudly reproached 
him as a felon and a traitor ; the Papal commissioners 
cried out against his impracticable pride and selfwill; 
and his own clerks strongly remonstrated with him for 
having caused the ruin of all their hopes. d As they 
were riding away, the horse of one of the clerks, Henry 
of Houghton, stumbled: "Go on," said Henry, loud 
enough for his master to hear, " saving the honour of 

a Job. Sarisb., ii. 168, ed. Giles ; 
Gamier, 108. 

b See Eadmer, ap. Anselm, ed. 
Gerberon, 67. 

c Thorn., iii. 44; Alan, i. 3GG ; 

Job. Sarisb., Ep. 285 ; Herb., vii. 
259-265; Gamier, 107-8 ; Gervase, 
d Herb., vii. 266 ; Gamier, 109. 




God and of holy Church and my order ;" and the Arch- 
bishop allowed the taunt to pass unnoticed.* " Brother," 
said his confidential friend the Bishop of Poitiers, " take 
heed lest the Church be destroyed by thee." " By me," 
was the reply, " with God's blessing it shall never be 
destroyed." b Herbert compares the advisers who thronged 
around the Archbishop at the conference to executioners, 
and him to their victim ; and on this occasion applies 
to him the text, " I have trodden the winepress alone." c 

The evening passed without the visit or the message 
with which Louis on such occasions was accustomed to 
favour the Archbishop ; and for three days, while the 
exiles travelled in the King's train, he held no commu- 
nication with them, and discontinued their usual allow- 
ance of provisions, so that the Archbishop was indebted 
for his very maintenance, " as a beggar," to the charity 
of the Bishop of Poitiers and the Archbishop of Sens. d 
The only circumstance which occurred to cheer him was 
the enthusiasm of the people of Chartres, who, as he 
passed through the streets of their city, flocked to look 
at him, as the champion " who would not for the sake of 
Kings deny his God, nor be silent as to His honour." e 

The exiles had returned to Sens, and were engaged in 
consultation as to their prospects and their future course. 

Fitzst., i. 262. 

b Herb., vii. 267. Comp. Ep. 
144 to this Bishop. Gamier says 
that Henry, regretting, on reflec- 
tion, the loss of the late oppor- 
tunity, sent him at midnight to 
Becket, with a request that the 
negotiation might be resumed; 

but that the Archbishop refused. 

c vii. 265-6. 

d Alan, i. 367; Herbert, 276 
(who, however, do not quite 

e Herb., vii. 276. 


The Archbishop alone wore a cheerful look ; he told his 
followers that as he alone was the object of attack, he 
would relieve them from the dangers connected with 
their attachment to him with one companion, and on 
foot, he would seek a refuge in Burgundy, where the 
sight of his affliction might procure him sustenance until 
better days should come. 3 At this critical time a 
messenger appeared from the King of France, and 
desired the Archbishop's attendance at Court. " It is to 
drive us out of the kingdom," said one of the clerks. 
" Thou art no prophet, neither a prophet's son," b replied 
Becket ; " do not prophesy unlucky things." The King's 
troubled look, as Becket entered into his presence, 
appeared to justify the foreboding which had been 
expressed; but after some minutes of silence, to the 
astonishment of all who witnessed the scene, Louis threw 
himself on his knees before the Archbishop, acknowledg- 
ing with tears that he alone had been in the right at 
Montmirail, and beseeching absolution for having taken 
part against him. The absolution was formally bestowed, 
and Becket returned to Sens with the assurance that 
from that time he might count on the King as a steady 
and unfailing supporter. This revolution was caused by 
the receipt of tidings that Henry had violated the late 
treaty by some barbarous acts of severity against certain 
leading men of Poitou, who had lately been in rebellion 
against him, and for whom Louis had supposed himself 
to have secured forgiveness. Louis was now prepared 

a Alan, i. 368 ; Herb., vii. 276. 
Aliui places this at a hostelry on 

the way. 
b Amos, vii. 14. 




for a breach with the English King ; and he treated the 
exiles with greater honour and familiarity than before. a 

The commissioner Bernard of Grammont is said to 
have also repented of the course which he had taken in 
the conference of Montmirail, and to have expressed to 
Herbert of Bosham his wish that one of his feet had 
been cut off rather than that the Archbishop should 
have yielded to his solicitations. 1 " He and his colleagues, 
finding that their attempts to effect a reconciliation 
were vain, now proceeded, agreeably to their instruc- 
tions, to deliver to Henry the second letter with which 
they had been charged, containing a threat of heavy 
ecclesiastical censure against the King, unless he should 
speedily repent. 

During the negotiations with Simon and his col- 
leagues the proceedings against the Bishop of London 
the " standardbearer " of the opposite party, the " in- 
centor of all malice," as Becket styled him d had been 
allowed to rest. But at the beginning of Lent, 1169, e 
the suspension of the Archbishop expired, and he de- 
clared an intention of inflicting the severest sentences 
of the Church on his contumacious opponents. In order 
to ward off the blow, Foliot put in a fresh appeal, which 
was to last until the Feast of the Purification in the 

a Alan, i. 369 ; Herb., 277 ; Joh. 
Sarisb., ii. 197, ed. Giles ; Gervase, 
1406. Sismondi says that the 
rebellion, although professedly 
grounded on political causes, was 
really excited by the preaching of 
Becket's partisans. Hist, des Fran- 
9ais, v. 462. 

b Herb., vii. 278. 

c Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 185. 

d S. T. C., iii. 115, 125, 202. 

e Dr. Pauli (74), from whom I 
have not ventured to differ without 
a re-examination of the facts, 
places the following proceedings 
in 1168. 

A.D. 1169. 



following year, a and lie induced the Bishop of Salisbury, 
who was in the same danger with himself, to unite with 
him in this step. Without, however, regarding the 
appeal, Becket, on Palm Sunday, pronounced at Clair- 
vaux the sentence of excommunication against the two 
bishops and other persons who had offended him. b John 
of Salisbury had warned his patron to beware of viti- 
ating his censures by informality ; c and, although the 
Archbishop considered that the circumstances of the 
case were sufficient to dispense with the ordinary pro- 
cedure/ Foliot knew how to turn the forms of law to 
his account with all the ingenuity of a Bentley. On 
hearing of the Primate's sentence he assembled a synod, 
at which he stated his objections : that he had appealed 
to the Pope; that he had received no citation to 
appear before his metropolitan ; and that, although a ru- 
mour of the excommunication had reached him, he did 
not hold himself bound to defer to it until he should 
receive a formal intimation. 6 All possible care was 
taken to keep such documents at a distance, but this 
vigilance was not long effectual. On Ascension Day, 
when the service of high mass in St. Paul's Cathedral 
had advanced as far as the Offertory, a young French- 
man, named Berengar, approached the officiating priest, 
and, kneeling, held out a packet as his oblation. The 
priest received this, and Berengar, seizing his hand, 

a Fol., Ep. 175. 

b Fitzst., i. 255 ; Anon. Lamb., 
ii. 107. 

c See p. 209, note '. 

d See the " Causa inter Cant. 

Archiep. et Ep. London.," in S. 
T. C., ii. 211, seqq., where the argu- 
ments on both sides are given. 
c Fitzst., i. 256, 259 ; Fol., Ep. 





held it firmly closed over the packet, while he charged 
him, in the names of God, the Pope, and the Primate, 
to open it at once, to deliver the contents to the Bishop 
and the Dean (who were then absent), and to refrain in 
the mean time from celebrating mass. The priest, on 
opening the cover, found, not, as might have been ex- 
pected, a gift for the benefit of the Church, but a letter 
from the Primate to the Bishop, announcing the sen- 
tence which had been passed on him, with another to 
the Dean and clergy of the cathedral, charging them to 
avoid the communion of their diocesan in consequence.* 
The messenger then proclaimed the excommunication 
to the people, and, by the aid of one of the Archbishop's 
friends, who threw a cloak over him, escaped among the 
crowd which at that stage of the service usually left the 
cathedral. The clergy then debated whether the mass 
should be carried further. The celebrant and others 
were for desisting ; but, on the Archdeacon's asking 
whether a priest would refrain from eating if a mes- 
senger from the Archbishop were to forbid him, the 
rites were resumed. b In the mean time Berengar, not- 
withstanding an eager search which was carried on for 
him by the King's officers, succeeded in escaping from 
London and made his way to York, where he published 
the excommunication in a similar manner. 

Epp. 134, 137. 

b " Celebrata est missa, non lectis 
litteris, nisi clanculum, ut audivi " 
(iii. 226). Clanculum relates to 
the reading of the letters, not, as 
Dr. Pauli supposes (75), to the 
performance of the mass. 

c iv. 225-26; Fitzst. i. 256-8. 
There are many such instances in 
Church History of the delivery of 
dangerous papers : e. g. Evagrius, 
iii. 34 ; Liberatus, in Patrol., Iviii. 
] 028 ; Gesta Treverorum, ib. cliv. 

A.D. 1169. 



On the second day after this scene, the Bishop of 
London, having returned from his manor of Stebonheth 
(or Stepney), assembled his clergy and read the Arch- 
bishop's letters before them. He protested against the 
sentence on many and various grounds, citing the Old 
Testament and the New, Fathers and Councils, the Civil 
Law and the False Decretals. He insisted on his appeal 
and on the informality of pronouncing sentence without 
citation and trial an informality, he said, which could 
not be excused by the difficulty of serving a citation on 
him, since the Archbishop had found means of conveying 
the letters of excommunication, which was a far more 
difficult and dangerous matter. He declared that he 
owed no obedience to the see of Canterbury, inasmuch as 
he had not at his translation taken any oath to the Arch- 
bishop, and because, moreover, London was of right an 
independent archiepiscopal see, as it had been until the 
ancient British Christianity was overwhelmed by a 
heathen invasion. It is said by Becket and his partisans 
that the Bishop even went so far as to boast that he would 
get the Primacy transferred from Canterbury to London.* 
By the advice of his friends, however, he resolved to 
yield a formal obedience to the sentence, and refrained 
from taking part in the offices of the Church. b The 
London clergy, in general, joined with the Bishop in 

ii. 223 ; iii. 125, 203, 339 ; iv. 
225 ; vi. 236 ; Fitzst., i. 256. John 
of Salisbury here amuses himself 
with the archflamen theory (see 
p. 94). " Fortasse vir prudens 
et religiosus Jovis cultum instaur- 
are disponit, ut, si alio niodo archi- 

episcopari non potest, archiflam- 
inis saltern noinen et titulum asse- 
quatur " (ii. 212, ed. Giles). Becket 
in vain tried to stir up the Canter- 
bury monks against the Bishop of 
London's pretensions. 
b Fitzst., i. 258 ; Diceto, 550. 




appealing against his excommunication, but the members 
of his own order excused themselves from supporting 
him. a The King wrote letters in his behalf to the Pope, 
as did also the Bishop of Lisieux, the Abbots of West- 
minster, Komsey, and Reading, with other ecclesiastics, 
representing his merits and vindicating his conduct, b 
and, having obtained the royal licence, he set out for 
Rome, in order to sue for a reversal of his sentence ; 
while Becket, on his part, endeavoured to create a rival 
interest by procuring letters from the French bishops, in 
which the Pope was requested to sanction the sentence 
against " the author and instigator of schism." c 

On the same day on which the letters of excommu- 
nication were delivered in St. Paul's, Becket himself 
was busy elsewhere in adding to the list of the excom- 
municate. The Archdeacon of Canterbury (" archi- 
diabolus noster ") was again denounced on this occasion. d 

The Pope was much annoyed on hearing of Foliot's 
excommunication. Before the tidings reached 
him, he had (chiefly by way of staving off the 
importunities of opposite parties e ) appointed Gratian, a 
subdeacon, nephew of Pope Eugenius III., and Vivian, 
Archdeacon of Orvieto/ a learned canonist, to go into 
France as his commissioners ; s and he now sent Becket a 
letter, expressive of regret that he had resorted to excom- 

March 10. 

a iv. 227. 

b Epp. 337, 341-3, 348, 350, 353, 
363, 450, 477, &c. Anralf., Ep. 55. 

< Fol. Epp. 443, 447, 461, &c. 

d In Epp. 36, 56, Becket begs 
two cardinals, if Foliot and Kidel 
should find their way to the Papal 

Court, to treat them " as limbs of 
anti-Christ, who already worketh 
his mystery of iniquity in them." 

e Herb., vii. 279. 

f See Morris, 257 and note. 

iv. 21 ; Herb., vii. 280. 

A.T). 1169. 



munication while negotiations were in progress, and 
advising that further proceedings should be deferred 
until the result of the commission were known. a 

Early in August, the envoys arrived in France ; for, 
says Herbert, as they were less encumbered with dignity 
and with baggage than the Cardinals, they were able to 
travel more expeditiously. b With Becket's party, Gratian 
was the favourite. He is described by Herbert as " truly 
gracious, according to his name, and, moreover, more 
vivacious than Vivian ;" c nay, the biographer considers 
him a very prodigy, inasmuch as " although a Roman, yet 
he ' went not after gold ; " d while the Archbishop speaks 
of him as the only Roman ecclesiastic whom Henry found 
incorruptible, or whose exertions were of any service in 
the case. 6 These commissioners, it is said, were bound 
by oath not to accept any present, even so much as their 
expenses, from the King, unless they should succeed in 
establishing an accommodation.*' After having seen the 
King of France, and having waited some time at Sens, 
as Henry was then in Gascony, the legates, on hearing 
of his return, proceeded into Normandy/ and had 
several conferences with him, most of which ended in 
some outbreak of passion on the King's part. At the 
first consultation Henry rushed out of the room, com- 
plaining bitterly that the Pope had never paid any 
regard to him, and swearing " By God's eyes, I will take 

a iii. 22. 

b vii. 280. 

c " Sed sicut penes regem Gra- 
tianus gratiam non invenit," says 
Diceto, " sic nee penes archi- 
episcopum aliqua vivit in me- 

moria Vivianus," 550. 

d vii. 281-3 (Ecclesiasticus, xxxi. 

e iii. 108, 112, 252. 

f Job. Sar., Ep. 292. 

s iv. 217. 




another way." " Do not threaten, my Lord," said Gra- 
tian calmly ; " for we are of a Court winch is accustomed 
to give commands to emperors and kings." At another 
meeting Henry exclaimed " Do what you like, for I don't 
care one egg for you or your excommunications ;" and 
mounted his horse with the intention of riding away. 
At the entreaties of his bishops, who represented the 
impropriety of such a speech, he remained, but in the 
course of the further conversation he repeatedly burst 
forth into fresh explosions of anger. The bishops im- 
plored him to consider the extent of the powers with 
which the legates were invested. " I know it," he ex- 
claimed ; " I know that they will interdict my lands. 
But if I can take one of the strongest castles every day, 
shall I not be able to take one clerk who interdicts my 
lands ?" a There were offers of conciliation from both 
sides : it was agreed that such of the excommunicates as 
were present should be absolved at once, and that 
Vivian should go into England for the absolution of the 
others ; and at length the long quarrel appeared to be 
on the point of settlement. But in the arrangement of 
terms, the old differences broke out afresh, as Henry 
insisted on the words " saving the dignity of the king- 
dom,'^ while Becket and the commissioners were equally 
earnest for the reservation of " the dignity of the 
Church ;" and neither party would give way. It was 

a Thorn., Ep. 383. 

b The word dignities had now 
been substituted for customs (iii. 
155) ; but John of Salisbury 
strongly declares the identity of 

what was meant. (Ep. 291.) 

c Vivian represents himself, his 
colleague, and the Archbishop as 
willing to admit the King's phrase, 
provided that the King would 

A.D. 1169. 



evident that in these phrases the whole grounds of the 
original quarrel were involved; and after a further 
attempt to treat with the King by means of Peter, 
Archdeacon of Pavia, who was driven from the Court 
with threats of personal violence,* Gratian, in despair 
of an accommodation, returned to Kome, declaring 
himself (it is said) to be utterly disgusted at Henry's 
faithless and untrustworthy character. 1 * 

Vivian, who was supposed to have substantial reasons 
for being more favourable to the King, remained behind, 
and entered into fresh negotiations, for which the Arch- 
bishop was but little disposed to thank him. c The com- 
missioner and King Louis, however, persuaded Becket to 

admit the other, and thus throws 
the odium of preventing an accom- 
modation on Henry. (Ap. Thorn., 
Ep. 360.) But Becket himself says 
that Gratian persuaded the King 
to admit the ecclesiastical reser- 
vation, which his " grammarians " 
had told him that he might allow 
without giving up the power of 
restraining the clergy from ap- 
pealing to the Pope, or obeying 
papal citations (Ep. 138) ; and if 
so, the obstacle must have been on 
the Archbishop's side. The Arch- 
bishop of Kouen (who is com- 
mended by Becket's informant as 
having at the conference studied 
to please God and the Pope, while 
Arnulf of Lisieux strove to flatter 
Henry, iv. 281) tells the Popo 
that he and others had in vain 
laboured to obtain the admission 
of the royal dignities. " Dolu- 

imus plurimum," he adds, "prse- 
sertim quum constet nobis pro 
certo, quod in observatione regise 
dignitatis libertas aut dignitas 
ecclesiastica nullatenus praegrave- 
tur. Siquidem dignitas ecclesias- 
tica regiam provehit potius quam 
adimit dignitatem, et regalis dig- 
nitas ecclesiasticam potius con- 
servare quam tollere consuevit 
libertatem; etenim quasi quibus- 
dam sibi invicem complexibus dig- 
nitas ecclesiastica et regalis oc- 
currunt, quum nee reges sine ec- 
clesia nee ecclesia pacem sine pro- 
tectione regia consequatur." (iv. 
150-1 ; comp. a letter from the 
Bishop of Nevers to the Pope, 
S. T. C., vi. 227 ; Diceto, 551.) 

a S. T. C., iv. 58, 220 ; Gervas., 

b Herb., vii. 283. 

c Ep. 173. 


attend a conference which took place on the Octave of St. 
Martin at Montmartre near Paris, the scene of the legen- 
Nov is ^ ar y mar ty r dom of St. Denys, to whose neigh- 
bouring abbey the King of England had gone 
on a pilgrimage.* As the Archbishop approached the 
little chapel which marked the spot of the martyrdom, a 
messenger appeared, who urged him to make haste, as 
the Kings were already arrived ; but he replied that it 
was not becoming for a priest to hurry in his motions. b 
Vivian, with the Archbishop of Kouen, the Bishop of 
Seez, and others, presented to Henry, on the part of the 
English Primate, a petition for the recovery of the royal 
favour, and for the restoration of himself and the other 
exiles to their full rights and preferments. The petition 
was graciously received ; and in the conversation which 
followed there was a studious avoidance of offensive 
topics on either side. The King offered to submit the 
questions between himself and the Archbishop to his 
suzerain king Louis, to the French nobles or bishops, or 
to the learned men of the University of Paris ; to which 
the Archbishop replied that he did not decline such 
judgment, but that he would rather settle matters 
amicably than engage in any litigation. d As to the 
lands which were claimed for the Church, the King 
was willing to concede ; but there was some difference 
with regard to the revenues and moveable property 

a iii. 154 ; Fitzst., i. 263. I himself as having enumerated the 

b Herb., vii. 285. I possessions which were wrongfully 

c The terms of this (iv. 220) are detained. (Ep. 92.) 

general; whereas Becket speaks of 

iii. 255. 

A.D. 1169. 



detained from the exiles, which Becket rated at 30,000 
marks. a The Archbishop insisted on his rights and his 
necessities that he and his adherents required money, 
both for their immediate expenses, and for reparation of 
the dilapidations which had taken place on their pro- 
perty ; while Henry urged that he had not expelled the 
Archbishop, and could not fairly be expected to restore 
property which he had found vacant, and in some cases 
had granted away. But the French King said that a 
question of money must not be allowed to prevent a 
reconciliation ; and Henry promised that compensation 
should be made, as soon as the proper amount could be 
ascertained by valuation. b All seemed to be arranged, 
when Becket requested that the King would give him 
the kiss of peace, as a security for his good faith. Henry 
replied that he would gladly do so, but for an oath 
which he had formerly taken ; and on this the Arch- 
bishop hesitated. While he was in expectation of a 
further answer, the Kings rode off towards Mantes 
Henry, as they went along, furiously cursing Becket for 
all the trouble which he had caused; and the Arch- 
bishop retired to lodge in the Temple at Paris. He 
states in his letters, that, although the King had been 
studiously plausible in his behaviour, his insincerity and 
duplicity had throughout been evident to all who under- 

a In mentioning a compromise 
which he had proposed on this 
point, Becket shows himself 
sensible of the value of a standing 
grievance. "Tarn Komansequam 
Anglicanse ecclesise expedit ut 

[rex] aliquid habeat penes se, quod 
ei tumultus et seditiones molienti 
recte possit opponi." (iii. 221.) 
Mr. Froude omits this. (p. 461.) 
b Herb., vii. 287 ; Diceto, 551. 

Q 2 




stood his ways. a In conversation with some of his 
followers, who regretted that the question as to the 
kiss of peace had been allowed to put an end to so 
promising a negotiation, the Archbishop told them 
that his conduct in the matter was in obedience to 
instructions from the Pope ; b and he reports the King 
of France as having said that he would not for his 
weight in gold advise him to return to England without 
the kiss, after Henry's late treachery towards the in- 
surgents of Poitou. One of the clerks, in allusion to 
the name ofMontmartre, expressed a belief that nothing 
but the Archbishop's martyrdom would restore peace to 
the Church. " Would that she might be delivered," 
exclaimed Becket, " even if it were with my blood ! " d 

Vivian, after the failure of his endeavours at media- 
tion, declared himself strongly against the King, whom 
he is said to have characterised as the most mendacious 
man that he had ever seen or heard of; and Henry, 
by way of revenge, gave out that the envoy's former 
favour had been gained by bribery. 6 

The envoys, on beginning to act, had consented 
that the Archbishop of Eouen should absolve the 
Archdeacon of Canterbury and others, on condition 
that their excommunication was again to be in force 
unless peace were concluded by Michaelmas; and, 

a iii. 255-6 ; cf. Viv. ap. Thorn., 
Ep. 361 ; Herb., vii. 289-290 ; viii. 
231 ; Maurit. Paris, episc. ap. Fol., 
Ep. 460 ; Gamier, 111. 

b Herb., vii. 291-7. 

c iii. 256. 

d vii. 290. 

e Viv. ap. Thorn., Epp. 361-2 ; 
iii. 256. Vivian seems to have 
now acquired some credit with the 
Archbishop. See Ep. 13. 

A.D. 1169. 



as the negotiations had failed, Gratian, when about 
to return to Kome, had written to Kidel and the 
rest, desiring them to consider themselves as still ex- 
communicate. 3 ' The Archbishop now again felt him- 
self at liberty to deal out his censures. He wrote 
to the Archbishop of Kouen and other Norman clergy, 
announcing that he had once more excommunicated 
Kidel, Nigel de Sackville, and others ; b and he threat- 
ened that unless full reparation were made for all 
wrongs before the ensuing feast of the Purification, he 
would lay the realm of England under an interdict, and, 
if necessary, would excommunicate the King. The 
Archbishop of Sens had set out for the papal Court, in 
company with Gratian, for the purpose of urging the 
Pope to extreme measures; and Henry, on hearing 
what was intended, despatched Kidel into England, with 
a commission to exact from persons of every age an 
abjuration of the Archbishop and the Pope. All who 
should pay heed to any interdict were to be banished, 
with all their relations, and their property was to be con- 
fiscated. Clergy who held benefices in England, and 
were out of the kingdom, were to be summoned to 
return before St. Hilary's day (Jan. 13) ; or, in case of 
failure, they were to be banished for life and to lose all 
their property. All appeals to the Pope or to the Arch- 
bishop, and all obedience to their mandates, were for- 

" iv. 219 ; vi. 291. 

b Epp. 105, 108. 

c There are three letters of 
Herbert to the Archbishop of Sens 
at this time, chiefly against Fo- 

liot. (Epp. 5-7. S. T. C., viii.) 
The King's kiss, he says, was pro- 
videntially refused, as a sign that 
his peace and our righteousness 
cannot agree (p. 230). 




bidden; and the severest penalties were denounced 
against all who should attempt to introduce any papal 
or archiepiscopal letters into England. The prelates 
were assembled for the purpose of giving their consent 
to these orders, but were afraid to venture on so bold a 
defiance of their ecclesiastical superiors; and some of 
them, by way of sheltering themselves from the King's 
anger, took refuge in religious houses. Such was the 
state of things when Henry, after an absence of four 
years, landed in England in March, 1170. a 

Gervas., 1408-1410; Thorn., 
Ep. 372 ; Fitzst., i. 267-8 ; Will. 

note c . 

19. See above, p. 176, 

A.D. 1170. ( 231 ) 



THE Pope was still earnestly desirous of a reconciliation, 
and in January, 1170, he directed a fresh commission to 
Kotrou, Archbishop of Rouen, and Bernard, Bishop of 
Nevers the one, for the appearance of impartiality, 
being chosen from among the subjects of Henry, and the 
other from those of Louis ; a and with these the Arch- 
bishop of Sens, although not formally appointed as their 
colleague, was desired to join in the work of mediation. b 
William of Sens, who, as we have seen, had just signalized 
his zeal for Becket by undertaking a journey to the papal 
court, is truly described in Mr. Froude's volume as " a 
warm supporter of the Archbishop's cause; but," it is 
added, "the other two were persons of views directly 
opposed to it, and had manifested their opposition only 
very lately, at the close of Gratian's and Vivian's em- 
bassy." c As to the previous conduct of the Bishop of 
Nevers, we do not remember anything except the fact 
of his having written to the Pope on that occasion a 
very moderate and sensible letter in behalf of the English 
King. d But the description of the Archbishop of Eouen 

Ap. Thorn., Epp. 152-3, 287. I c P. 466. 

b Ib. 262. I d Ap. Fol., Ep. 455. 


is decidedly unjust ; for Kotrou bore the character of a 
true and steady churchman. We have already seen that 
John of Salisbury styled him " that most firm pillar of 
the Church;" that he had been favourably disposed 
towards Becket, until disgusted and alienated by his 
arrogance and violence ; a and that his behaviour at the 
conference with Gratian and Vivian had been such as to 
command the respect of Becket's partisans, although, 
like the Bishop of Nevers, he had been led by the result 
of that conference to address to the Pope a letter of wise 
and temperate remonstrance against the pretensions by 
which the English Primate seemed determined to render 
hopeless any accommodation with the secular power. b 

" On this appointment being made," says Mr. Froude's 
editor, " Becket endeavoured to give it a good direction, 
and wrote a letter to the Bishop of Nevers how to act in 
his new situation." Although such an attempt to in- 
fluence an arbiter is repugnant to modern ideas, we are 
not, perhaps, entitled to censure it on that account ; but 
we may extract from the opening of the Archbishop's 
letter a specimen of his tone with regard to the King : 
"Unless I am deceived, you will have to fight with 
beasts ; for, if he perceive that he cannot circumvent 
you with promises and smooth words, he will bring forth 
his bishops, and abbots, and wise men, to besiege your 
constancy. Since, therefore, it is not easy to detect the 
manifold disguises of this prodigy, look with suspicion 
on him and on everything of his, whatever he may say, 
whatever shape he may put on, and believe that all is 

a P. 194. b p. 225. 

A.D. 1170. A NEW COMMISSION. 233 

full of deceit, unless in so far as his acts shall manifestly 
vouch for his sincerity. Should he find that he can 
either corrupt you by promises or frighten you by threats, 
you will immediately lose all authority in his eyes, and 
you will become a subject of contempt and derision to 
him and his party. If, however, he see that he cannot 
bend you from your purpose, he will at first make a show 
of rage ; he will swear and forswear, he will change like 
Proteus ; but at last he will return to himself, and from 
that time forward, unless the fault be your own, you will 
always be for a god unto Pharaoh." a And from this the 
Archbishop goes on, in a style of great assumption, to 
lay down the duties of the commissioners, and to caution 
them against all possible evasions on the part of the 

The charge given to Kotrou and his colleague was, 
that they should endeavour to mediate between the King 
and the Archbishop, and to procure the restoration of 
the exiles, with compensation for their losses, (although, 
if the King should demur to the immediate payment of 
a thousand marks, which Becket had demanded, they 
were not to insist on it) ; that they should prevail on 
Henry to give tlie kiss of peace, or, if this were im- 
possible, that they should persuade the Archbishop to 
receive it from the King's eldest son, as representative 
of his father an expedient by which Henry had pro- 
posed to get over the difficulty of his oath, while the 
Pope, in a special letter, oifered to absolve him from the 

iii. 303 ; Fronde, 4G7-8. 


oath. a If their attempts to effect a peace should fail, 
the commissioners were to threaten an interdict on the 
King's continental dominions at the end of forty days ; 
but this threat was not to be executed if within the 
interval Henry should show any signs of a better mind. 
They were to absolve the excommunicates, if there were 
a prospect of a reconciliation ; but on condition that the 
excommunication should revive, unless a settlement 
actually followed. 1 * By a later letter they were autho- 
rised to suspend, and, in case of obstinacy, to excommu- 
nicate any prelate or other person who should refuse to 
defer to their sentence of interdict. 

The Bishop of London was not included in the 
general absolution ; for Becket had always regarded him 
as the soul of the opposite party, and had insisted, with 
all his energy and with all the interest which he could 
command, that the sentence against him should be con- 
firmed. But the interest employed on behalf of Foliot 
was stronger; and when, after a journey which the fear 
of his enemies rendered circuitous and difficult, he had 
reached Milan, d on his way to the Papal Court, he 
received a letter from the Pope, informing him that the 
Archbishop of Kouen and the Bishop of Nevers were 
authorised to absolve him, on his swearing to obey the 

a Ap. Thorn., Ep. 307. Henry I. 
had refused a similar offer from 
Paschal II., on the ground that 
to accept it would be unworthy of 
a king, and an example tending to 
produce universal distrust among 

men. Eadmer, ed. Gerberon, p. 75. 

b Ep. 253. 

c Ep. 254. 

d " Ad Sanctum Ambrosium." 
Diceto, 552. 

A.D. 1170. 



Pope's mandate as to the matters in question. a If the 
Commissioners should be unable to attend together, 
either of them was empowered to pronounce the abso- 
lution, which was to be formally announced to the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, with a charge (of which the 
object does not appear) that he should keep it secret 
" until it could be published without danger to the 
Bishop of London himself." b Foliot, on receiving the 
Pope's letter, turned homewards ; he was absolved by 
Kotrou at "Rouen on Easter-Day, and, agreeably to the 
Pope's directions, the act was immediately notified to 
the English Primate. To Becket this announcement 
was a token that his enemies prevailed at the Papal 
Court, and he wrote to the Archbishop of Eouen, re- 
monstrating against the absolution as informal, because 
there was no evidence of the other Commissioner's in- 
ability to be present, and because the Bishop of London, 
instead of keeping it secret, had forthwith done his 
utmost to blaze it abroad. d The first of these objections 
appears somewhat captious, 6 and the other is utterly 
unfounded ; for the Pope had not bound Foliot to se- 

Alex. ap. Thorn., Ep. 280, where, 
as Ep. 256 shows, the Bishop of 
Exeter is wrongly named, instead 
of the Bishop of Nevers. 

b Ep. 256. 

c Ep. 323 ; cf. Fol., Epp. 432-4. 

d Ep. 108. 

e Although the words of the 
Pope's letter as to Foliot, " ad- 
esse non potest " . . . . " interesse 
non potuerit " . . . . speak only of 
inability, whereas the general in- 

structions to the commissioners 
authorise one to act if the other 
should be unable or unwilling 
("quod tamen non credimus"), 
the difference of the business is 
enough to account for the difference 
of words. In the one case, unwil- 
lingness was provided against be- 
cause it seemed possible; in the 
other, the possibility of it was not 




crecy, but had allowed the absolution to be published as 
soon as might be consistent with Ms interest. But the 
Archbishop's indignation burst forth more remarkably 
in an epistle to a cardinal, which, for furious invective 
against ecclesiastical superiors, could hardly be paralleled 
by anything in the writings of our highest modern 
Churchmen. He characterises the letter by which the 
absolution was authorised as an order " that Satan might 
be let loose for the ruin of the Church." " I know not 
how it is," he continues, " that in the Court of Kome 
the Lord's side is always sacrificed that Barabbas 
escapes, and Christ is put to death. a . . . With you, 
the wretched, the exiles, the innocent are condemned, 
and for no other reason (to speak on my conscience) 
than because they are the poor of Christ, and weak, and 
would not go back from the righteousness of God ; while, 
on the other hand, you absolve the sacrilegious, the 
murderers, the robbers, the impenitent, whom I openly 
declare, on Christ's authority, that Peter himself, if he 
were in the Papal chair, could not absolve in the sight 
of God. b Let any one who dares, bind himself, and not 
dread the sentence of the Judge who is to come. Let 
him absolve the robbers, the sacrilegious, the mur- 
derers, the perjurers, the men of blood, the schismatics, 
without repentance. I will never remit to the impeni- 

a This phrase is repeated in a 
violent letter to the Pope by the 
Archbishop of Sens, who was 
annoyed that the absolution had 
been granted without his know- 
ledge. (Ap. Thorn., Ep. 329.) The 
Pope replied to him evasively, but 

mildly. (Ib., 262.) "Frustra 
laborat Baronius," says Brial, " ut 
Alexandrum a tergiversatione im- 
munem prsestet." (434.) 

b There is a similar passage as to 
the limitation of the Pope's power in 
Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 198, col. 218, C. 

A.D. 1170. 



tent the things which have been taken away from the 
Church of God. Is it not our spoils, or rather the 
spoils of the Church, which the King's emissaries lavish 
on and pay to the cardinals of Kome ? . . . For my own 
part, I am resolved no longer to trouble the Court ; let 
those resort thither who prevail in their iniquities, and, 
after triumphing over justice and leading innocence 
captive, return with boasting for the confusion of the 
Church. Would to God that the way to Kome had not 
caused, for no purpose, the deaths of so many poor and 
innocent persons ! " a 

There are those who would use the history of Becket 
as an argument in favour of Kome ! There are those who 
represent the temper of his latter days as that of a man 
purified by suffering to calm and saintly resignation ! 

In the mean time Henry was busy in preparations for 
the coronation of his eldest son, who, in February, 1170, 
completed his fifteenth year. This, according to some 
writers, was an expedient intended to ward off the 
threatened interdict from his subjects by nominally 
transferring them to the Prince, b while others represent 
it as having originated merely in a wish to annoy the 

Ep. 31 (comp. Ep. 390, which 
is a remonstrance of the exiles 
against the Pope's vacillating 
policy.) The next letter in the old 
collection (v. 21 = Ep. 40 in 
Giles) says, "Innocentes, miseri, 
pro libertate ecclesise gratis in 
itinere perierant." See, too, Her- 
bert, 254. But Mr. Froude seems 
to go too far in saying that there 

is an allusion "to the suspicious 
deaths of some former envoys at 
the Eoman court," (481,) since 
the words do not hint at anything 
beyond the effects which might 
have followed from the hardships 
of the journey and jjjie insalubrity 
of the Koman air. 
b Fitzst, 272. 




Primate by invading the privileges of his see, among 
which was that of crowning the Sovereigns of England. 
Very possibly, one or both of these motives may have 
been concerned in the matter at the time which we have 
now reached ; but it ought not to be forgotten that the 
idea of crowning the heir-apparent had been entertained 
long before : for we are told that that mission of Chan- 
cellor Thomas from Normandy into England, which 
resulted in his own elevation to the primacy, was con- 
nected with the intended coronation of Prince Henry ; a 
and in the end of 1163, shortly after the Council of 
Westminster, John of Salisbury speaks of the ceremony 
as having been deferred in order that it might be per- 
formed by the Pope in person. b It would seem that, on 
the death of Theobald, both the Archbishop of York 
and the King made application to the Pope in con- 
nexion with this subject. Koger, bent on the exaltation 
of his see, obtained a letter acknowledging that the 
right of crowning kings belonged to him and had be- 
longed to his predecessors ; while Henry, who was then 
offended with Koger and desirous to guard against any 
claims which he might set up during the vacancy of 
Canterbury, obtained a grant authorising him to employ 

a Grim, i. 13. 

b Joh. Sarisb., i. 191, ed. Giles. 

c Alex. ap. Thorn., Ep. 241. 
Although Becket had been conse- 
crated a month before the date of 
this (Montpellier, July 5, 1162), 
no doubt it was the fruit of solici- 
tation during the vacancy. Theo- 

bald had been afraid that Roger 
might invade the privileges of 
Canterbury by crowning a king ; 
i. e., apparently, by performing the 
coronation of Stephen's son, which 
Theobald himself had refused to 
do. (Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 34.) 

A.D. 1170. 



such bishops as he himself might choose for the corona- 
tion of his son. a In 1166, the Pope had forbidden the 
English bishops to take part in any coronation during 
the exile of their Primate ; b but in the following year, 
when at the extremity of his fear from the assault of 
Frederick Barbarossa, he had again granted the Arch- 
bishop of York authority to perform the ceremony. 

The Pope had been lately beset with fresh solicitations 
from both sides, and appears for a time to have endea- 
voured to keep well with both ; for the King's envoys, 
in their return through France, gave out that they had 
obtained Alexander's consent to the coronation/ and at 
the time when Becket was complaining of this to the 
Pope, a new letter was on its way to prohibit Eoger and 

a This appears from Becket's 
account of his last interview with 
the King (iii. 70). 

b Thorn., Ep. 244. 

c Ep. 245. About this letter, 
which is not in the Vatican MS. 
and was not printed by Lupus, 
there has been much controversy. 
Both by the defenders and by the 
assailants of its genuineness, it 
has usually been referred to the 
beginning of 1170, the time at 
which letters of an opposite ten- 
dency were addressed by the Pope 
to others ; and the question, 
whether Alexander could have 
been guilty of such duplicity, has 
entered largely into the arguments 
on the genuineness of the letter. 
See, for it, Lyttelton, ii. 540, who 
first published it from a MS. in 
the Bodleian ; Milman (who, how- 
ever, does not speak positively;, 

iii. 511 ; against it, Berington's 
Henry II., 606-8; Lingard, ii. 
234, 12mo.; ii. 153, ed. 1849; 
Pauli, 80, who says that it has no 
date, and is certainly spurious ; 
Buss, 591, 598. But Boehmer 
gives a date : " Apud S. Mariam 
Novam, xv. kal. Julii," which 
throws a new light on the letter 
by referring it to the time of the 
siege of Kome by Frederick ; it is 
considered genuine by Jaffe (713) ; 
and is so given in Migne's Patro- 
logia, ii. 457. Lord Lyttelton (ii. 
549) has pointed out the art with 
which the Pope assumes that his 
consent is necessary to the coro- 
nation itself, and not only to the 
determination of the right of offi- 
ciating at it. " Henricum ... ex 
auctoritate beati Petri ac nostra con- 
cedimus in Anglia coronandum." 
<l iii. G4 ; vi. 230. 




other English prelates from officiating in the absence of 
their chief. a This prohibition, however, was ineffectual, 
partly through Becket's remissness in making use of it, b 
and partly through the care which was taken to prevent 
the Papal letter, and those from the Archbishop which 
accompanied it, from reaching the persons for whom they 
were intended. It is said that some copies were intro- 
duced into England, but that no one would venture to 
deliver them j- and it is also said that some of the bishops 
refused them, or pretended not to have received them. 
The bishop of Worcester, son of EarlEobert of Gloucester, 
had been invited by the King to follow him into England 
for the coronation of his young kinsman ; but Becket, 
on being informed that he was about to cross the sea, 
took the opportunity of charging him to prevent the 
performance of the ceremony by the Archbishop of York 
or other English bishops ; d and, lest the bishop should 

* Ep. 247; Herb., vii. 297. 
Mr. Morris tells us that " St. 
Thomas had received from the 
Holy Father letters dated Feb. 
26th [1170], and still earlier from 
Anagni, in November [1169] ; : 
others again from the Lateran, 
April 5th [1170], forbidding any 
one but the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury to perform the ceremony" 
(276). The letter of April 5th is 
that which has been already men- 
tioned as written in 1166 ; for 
that from Anagni Mr. Morris re- 
fers to Rymer, i. 29. There is no 
such letter in that place ; but at 
p. 26 of the new edition is the 
letter to which Mr. Morris pro- 
bably refers. Although, however, 

the editors unaccountably date it 
in Nov. 1170, it is addressed to 
Becket's successor, Richard, and 
was written in some year between 
1174 and 1179. (Jane, 781.) The 
letter of February is, therefore, the 
only one which belongs to this time. 

b " Vobis imputate, qui litteras 
non misistis, quse poterant con- 
secrationem impedire." iv. 300. 

c Ep. 389. Will. Cant., ii. 26. 
See a letter of John of Salisbury 
to the monks of Christchurch, Can- 
terbury, Ep. 296. Fitzstephen 
says that they were delivered to 
the Archbishop of York and the 
Bishop of London on the day be- 
fore the coronation (i. 268). 

d Ep. 105. 

A.D. 1170. 



interfere in this manner, he was forbidden by the Queen 
and the Justiciary of Normandy to embark.* On Sunday, 
the 14th of June, the young Henry, who on the day 
before had received knighthood from his father, was 
crowned at Westminster by the Archbishop of York, 
with the assistance of the Bishops of London, Salisbury, 
Eochester, Seez, and others. b No oath to preserve the 
liberties of the Church was required from him, although 
the Pope had written to Becket that such an oath must 
be a condition of any coronation ; c but it is said that the 
bishops swore afresh to observe the Constitutions of 
Clarendon. d Immediately after the ceremony the elder 
King returned to Normandy. 6 

The Archbishop of Eouen and his colleagues now 
renewed their efforts at mediation, 1 and found Henry 
much inclined to peace, chiefly by the knowledge that 
an interdict was hanging very closely over his kingdom, 

a Fitzst., i. 268, who gives a re- 
markable conversation as having 
passed between the Bishop and 
the King after the coronation. 

b " Pridie festum SS. Viti et Mo- 
desti." Fitzst, i. 268 ; Epp. 389, 
392. The Pope writes to the Arch- 
bishop of Kouen against the part 
which the Bishop of Seez took in 
these affairs. S. T. C., iv. 64. 

e Ep. 224. See Carte, i. 623. 

d iv. 50. This Carte disbelieves, 
i. 623-4. 

e Fitzst., i. 269. Herbert in this 
place tells a story of a vision, from 
which it appears that Becket 
" wanted the accomplishment of 
verse." He was warned in sleep 

that two of the King's sons would 
die before their father ; and, as 
the warning was in the form of a 
hexameter, the biographer argues 
that it must have been super- 
natural, since his schoolmasters had 
never been able to instil into him 
the art of making a line (vii. 300). 
f Peter of Blois, about this time, 
states that some papal legates, 
with whom he had travelled from 
the " Koman Court " to Bologna, 
spoke confidently of Becket's re- 
conciliation with the King, or of 
his translation " to the eminence 
of a greater patriarchate-," as cer- 
tain to take place shortly. Ep. 22. 





as the Pope had entrusted Becket with the power of 
issuing the sentence, and letters to the English bishops 
were already prepared, with a view of putting it in 
force : a for this sentence, which closed all the churches 
throughout the kingdom or district against which it was 
pronounced silencing the bells, removing the outward 
tokens of religion, and denying its offices to the people, 
except in such a measure and with such circumstances 
as tended to impress the imagination with a deeper 
horror b was something which kings, even the boldest 
and those who were least sensible to spiritual impressions, 
dreaded to encounter, on account of its effect on the 
minds of their subjects. Becket was persuaded, by the 
urgency of the Archbishop of Sens, d to accompany him 
to a meeting between the Kings of England and France, 
which was to take place in a meadow between Freteval 
and La Ferte' Bernard, on the borders of the provinces 
of Tours and Chartres ; and on St. Mary Magdalene's day 
the third day of the conference he was ad- 
mitted to an interview with Henry. It had been 
agreed that, in order to guard against the appearance of 
constraint, the King of France should not be present at 

July 22. 

a ill 66, 199, 201, 207, 209, &c. ; 
iv. 57, 60. 

b The baptism of infants and the 
penance of the dying were, how- 
eyer, always allowed. See the 
letters written on this occasion ; 
also Hincmar, Opera, ii. 510-4, ed. 
Paris, 1645; Schnrid, Liturgik, i. 
723-4 (Passau, 1840). 

c Fitzstephen reports that some 
one said to Henry, " Ut quid ten- 

etnr exclusus [archiepiscopus] ? 
melius tenebitur inclusus quam 
exclusus," and that on this hint 
the King acted with a view of in- 
veigling Becket into his power 
(i. 272). But the force of the 
story is not apparent, since Henry 
had always declared that he had 
not driven the Archbishop away, 
and that he wished him to return. 
d iv. 303. 


their meeting ; a and, as the hostile English bishops were 
not at hand to exert their influence against the Primate, 
the King was disposed to conciliation and concession, 
Immediately on seeing the Archbishop approach, he 
broke from the crowd which surrounded him, hastened 
to meet him, and, uncovering his head, anticipated him 
in uttering a salutation. b The old points of difference 
were avoided, or were yielded by the King. Nothing 
was said of the Constitutions, or of exacting any oath 
from the exiles ; but it was promised that they should 
be allowed to return to England in security, and that 
full restitution should be made of all the property which 
the Archbishop demanded. The King and the Primate 
rode apart together, and conversed with such an appear- 
ance of familiarity, " that," says Becket, " it might have 
seemed as if there had never been any disagreement 
between us." c The conversation lasted so long that the ! 
spectators of it became weary of waiting : it was observed 
that both Henry and Becket twice dismounted fronii 
their horses and remounted. Henry spoke of taking 
the cross, and leaving his son under the Archbishop's 
care, with entire command of the kingdom; to which 
the Archbishop replied that, although, indisposed to 
undertake secular office, yet, if the King would entrust 
his son and his kingdom to Hugh de Beauchamp, he 
himself would aid with his advice. d Becket desired that 
he might be allowed, without offending the King, to 
inflict ecclesiastical punishment on the Bishops who had 

Fitzsl., i. 273. 
iii. 67. 

c iii. 67- ; Gamier, 114. 
d - Gamier, 115. 

E 2 




been concerned in the late coronation. To this Henry 
replied that he had not supposed their act to be an 
invasion of the privileges of Canterbury, but believed 
himself entitled to have his son crowned wherever and 
by whomsoever he might please ; and he referred to the 
coronations of William the Conqueror and of Henry I. 
as precedents. The Archbishop rejoined, that, when 
the Conqueror was crowned by Aldred of York, the 
throne of Canterbury was virtually vacant, as Stigand 
had not received the pall from a legitimate Pope ; that 
Anselm was in exile when the urgency of affairs required 
that Henry I. should be crowned by the Bishop of 
Hereford as his representative, and that, on Anselm's 
return, Henry requested him to perform a fresh corona- 
tion.* The King assured him of his son's affection, 
proposed that the Prince should be crowned anew by 
him, together with the Princess his wife (whose father, 
King Louis, regarded it as a slight to her and to himself 
that she had not been included in the former coronation) ; 
and he granted the permission which was desired. On re- 
ceiving this, Becket dismounted, and was about to throw 
himself at the King's feet ; but Henry also alighted 
from his horse, embraced the Archbishop, and held his 
stirrup in order to assist him in remounting. b The 

a iii. 68. William of Malmes- 
bury, however (as Dr. Lingard 
observes, ii. 3;, speaks of Thomas 
of York as officiating at Henry's 
coronation. (Perhaps this mistake 
arises from the fact that Gerard 
of Hereford was soon after trans- 

lated to York.) The assertion as 
to Henry and Anselm seems to be 
groundless. Carte, i. 625. 

b This was a service which Em- 
perors and Kings were expected 
to render to Popes, from the time 
when the example was set in 1095 

A.D. 1170. 



witnesses of this scene, who were delighted at the 
appearance of a reconciliation, then urged the King to 
give the kiss of peace, as the Pope had absolved him 
from the oath which had before been an obstacle ; but, 
although he professed himself willing to kiss the Arch- 
bishop a hundred times, on mouth, hands, and feet, he 
desired that, for the sake of saving his honour, he might 
be excused until he should be within his own dominions, 
where the act might have more the grace of appearing 
voluntary.* To this the Archbishop agreed, in accordance 
with the general feeling ; and he sealed the reconcilia- 
tion by bestowing his benediction on the King. b When, 
however, Henry requested that he would spend some 
days with him, by way of displaying publicly the reality 
of the reconciliation, he excused himself under the plea 
that he must take leave of his French benefactors before 
returning to England. 

Yery soon it appeared that the peace which had been 
concluded was only superficial aSj according to Herbert, 
might have been inferred from the very name of the 
place, which was known among the neighbours as " The 
Traitor's Meadow." d The King, in accordance with his 
promise to restore the property of the exiles^ 6 wrote to 
desire that his son, who was then administering the 
government of England, would cause everything to be 

by Conrad, whom the hierarchical 
party had induced to rebel against 
his father, the Emperor Henry IV. 

a Herbert says that the kiss was 
not mentioned at all (vii. 304). 

b Fitzst., i. 273-6 ; Herb., vii. 

305; Garn., 113-6; S. T. C., iii. 
66-72 ; iv. 303-5 ; Diceto, 552. 
c Will. Cant, in S. T. C., ii, 


d vii. 305. 
e Fol., Ep. 496. 




put into the condition in which it had been three months 
before the exile ; a but the execution of this mandate 
was impeded in every way by those who were in posses- 
sion. The agents whom Becket sent into England found 
the houses belonging to his see dilapidated and deserted, 
the farm-buildings destroyed, the stock carried off, b the 
lands untilled, the woods cut down ; and the tidings of 
his reconciliation with the King had been received as a 
signal for increased waste of his property. Some of his 
clergy, on resuming their benefices, were again violently 
driven out ; the revenues of the Archbishopric, which 
fell due at Martinmas, were seized by the King's officials ; c 
the agents found themselves industriously thwarted by 
young Henry's advisers, among whom Archdeacon Ridel, 
whom the Archbishop had refused to absolve at Freteval, 
-was prominent. d They reported to him that all his 
friends in England united in advising him not to return 
until his relations with the King should be more satis- 
factory ; that Ranulf de Broc (who was especially 
interested in the matter, inasmuch as his very castle of 
Saltwood was at stake 6 ) had sworn that the Archbishop 
should not live to eat a whole loaf on English ground ; f 
that his enemies among the prelates were urging that he 
should not be allowed to return, except on condition of 

Fol., Ep. 497. 
>* " Ne remist buef ne uache, ne chapuns, 

ne geline, 

;Cheual, pore, ne brebiz, ne de ble plaiue 
mine." Garn, 120. 

* Job. Sar., Ep. 300; Gamier, 
120 ; Gervase, 1413. 
d Epp. 25 fpp. 74-5), 183, 394. 
Herb., vii. 307. See p. 157. 

The King's letter to his son (Fol. 
497) makes special mention of 
Saltwood, and directs that the 
Archbishop's claim to it should be 
settled by the evidence of some 
" de legalioribus et antiquioribus 
< iii. 381. 


renouncing the legatine power, giving up all Papal 
letters, and swearing to obey the Constitutions ; and that 
a scheme had been devised for filling up the vacant sees 
without his assistance, by sending the bishops elect to 
receive consecration from the Pope. a 

Finding that there were difficulties in the way, the 
Archbishop sent John of Salisbury, together with Herbert 
of Bosham, to press for the fulfilment of the King's pro- 
mises as to restitution, and, in particular, to urge the 
old claims to Saltwood, and to the custody of Rochester 
Castle. If the answers should be favourable, they were 
to go on to England ; but otherwise, they were to return 
to their master. After having been detained at Court 
some time, on account of the King's illness, the envoys 
were admitted to an interview. " The King," says 
Herbert, " as his manner was, put off, put off, and again 
put off ;" b and at length he replied to John, who was the 
spokesman, " John, I shall certainly not give up the 
castle to you, unless I first see a change in your 
behaviour towards me." It does not appear to what 
behaviour the King alluded ; and, without a knowledge 
of this, we cannot think it fair to charge him alone 
with all the blame of the disagreements which followed 
the accommodation at Freteval. The envoys, being 
unable to obtain a more favourable answer to their ap- 
plication, returned to their master instead of prosecuting 
their journey into England. 

During the remaining months of the Archbishop's stay 

a S. T. C., iv. 308 ; Job. Sarisb., 
Ep. 300. 

b " More suo distulit, distulit, 

et redistulit." vii. 307. 


in France, lie had several interviews with the King. a The 
first of these was at Tours, where, as Henry did not spon- 
taneously offer the kiss of peace, the Archbishop, from a 
wish not to appear impatient, refrained from asking for it. 
Complaints and words of reproach were uttered on each 
side ; but, by the mediation of Count Theobald of Blois, 
the King was persuaded to renew his promise of restitu- 
tion, although he expressed a wish that the Archbishop 
should previously return to England, so that it might be 
seen in what manner he was disposed to behave. b A 
second meeting took place at Amboise, where Becket 
appeared as the King was going to mass. Nigel de 
Sackville, one of the royal chaplains, informed his 
master that the Archbishop had arrived, probably with 
the intention of entrapping the King into giving the 
kiss during the service of the mass, and told Henry 
that he might defeat such a design by ordering the 
officiating priest to say the mass for the dead, as in it 
the pa-x was omitted. This suggestion was acted on ; 
but a later part of the service afforded the Archbishop 
an opportunity of asking for the promised kiss, as he 
was now within the King's dominions. " Another time 
you shall have enough of it," was the answer. At a 
later meeting, which took place at Chaumont near Blois, 
the question of the kiss would seem not to have been 
mentioned, and the tone of the conversation was friendly. 
" Why is it," asked the King, " that you will not do as 
I wish? I would put everything into your hands" 

a There are some unimportant I b Herb., vii. 308. 
variations in the accounts of these. I c Fitzst., i. 278-9. 

A.D. 1170. 



" and," said Becket, in relating the story to Herbert, " I 
remembered the words, ' All these things will I give thee, 
if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' " a On Henry's 
promising to see him again shortly, either at Eouen or 
in England, " My Lord," said the Archbishop, " my 
mind misgives me that you will never see me again in 
this life." " What !" asked Henry, " do you take me for 
a traitor ?" " Far be it from you, my Lord," replied 
Becket. And thus they finally parted. b 

While the Archbishop was complaining that the resti- 
tution of his property was delayed, the King complained 
of his lingering so long in France, and sent messengers 
to hasten his preparations for returning home. It is 
said that both the French King and the Bishop of 
Paris endeavoured at parting to dissuade him from 
venturing into England without having secured the kiss 
of peace, and that to both he expressed a foreboding 
that he was going to his death. d At length, however, 
he resolved to set out, and left Sens on All Saints Day. e 
At Rouen he was disappointed by finding that Henry, 
instead of meeting him, as he had expected, excused 
himself on the ground of political business ; that Arch- 

* vii. 309. 

b Fitzst, i. 279. 

c Ib. 278. 

d Ib. 277. 

e Joh. Sar., Ep. 299. " Prout 
adhuc pauperes et exules potui- 
mus," says Herbert, " nostrum ad 
repatriandum iter maturabamus. 
Nee ob id pauperes nomino, quin 
arcliiprsesul cum suis in magno 
et prseclaro app^ratu revertisset, 

plus, ni fallor, quam cum equita- 
turis centum repatrians. Quod ideo 
memoro hie, ut ubique et in omni 
statu suo probetur magnus," &c. 
(vii. 309-310). In short, Herbert 
confesses that he uses the word 
poor merely by way of cant. Could 
Becket afford such a cavalcade ? 
If so, he was not in distress ; if not, 
he was blameably extravagant. 




bishop Kotrou had received no command to accompany 
him into England ; but that, instead of this, the King 
had sent him by way of escort one of the persons \vho 
were most obnoxious to him and had been most active 
in opposition to him John of Oxford, Dean of Salisbury. 
He was also disappointed in his expectation of finding 
at Kouen a sum of money from the King for the 
payment of his debts and travelling expenses ; and as 
the promised supply was not forthcoming, he was obliged 
to borrow 3001. from Kotrou. a 

Since the date of the violent letter which we lately 
quoted, a change had taken place in the policy of the 
Koman Court. The majority of the cardinals including 
some who had hitherto been strenuous on the opposite 
side, and apparently even William of Pavia were now 
favourable to Becket ; b and the Pope, shamed out of 
his former timid courses, on hearing of the coronation 
empowered the Archbishop to inflict the censures of the 
Church on all who had been concerned in it. Letters 
were prepared by which the Archbishop of York and 
other prelates were suspended from their office, and the 
Bishops of London and Salisbury were again placed 
under the anathema which had been denounced against 
them ; and these letters were sent to Becket, for the 
purpose of being used at his discretion. The Arch- 

a Job. Sar., Ep. 300 ; Gamier, 
119, 121 ; Foliot, Ep. 498 ; Fitzst., 
i. 279-280 ; Herb., vii. 277-9. 

b Fol., Ep. 392. See p. 208, n. b . 

c Epp. 230, 249, 272 ; iii. 78-80 
(Septr. 10-16). In a letter which 

is dated " 20 Kal. Oct.," but which 
Jaffe refers to Oct. 9, the Pope 
assures Becket that the Arch- 
bishop of York's invasion of the 
southern province in the case of 
the late coronation shall not pre- 

A.D. 1170. 



bishops of Sens and Kouen were directed to insist on 
Henry's fulfilment of the promises made to the English 
Primate, and on the withdrawal of the offensive Consti- 
tutions, under the penalty of an interdict unless he 
should comply within thirty days after receiving their 
admonition.* At Witsand, where he intended to embark, 
Becket heard that the Archbishop of York, with the 
Bishops of London and Salisbury, was preparing to cross 
into Normandy for the purpose of claiming the King's 
protection; and he at once despatched the letters of 
excommunication and suspension across the Channel. 1 ' 
A clerk who accompanied the messenger was seized at 
Dover, and, as he could not show the King's license for 
his landing, was compelled to recross the straits with the 
first wind ; and the delivery of the letters produced 
a ferment of exasperation among the Archbishop's 

judice the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury's right, " quorninus corona- 
tioiiis et inunctionis regum Angliae 
possessionem taliter habeatis, sicut 
antecessores tui et eadem ecclesia 
a quadraginta annis retro ha- 
buisse noscitur " (Ep. 228). This 
seems to suggest that the Arch- 
bishop of York might properly 
have performed the coronation 
unless it had been specially for- 
bidden, and unless he had gone 
beyond his own province. Such 
a right had been successfully 
asserted in the case of one of 
Louis VII.'s queens by the Arch- 
bishop of Sens against the Arch- 
bishop of Kheims, who claimed 
the exclusive privilege of crowning 

for all France. Bob. Autissiod., 
A.D. 1054, in Kec. des Hist., xiv. 

a Ep. 263 (Oct. 9). 

b Diceto, 553-4. It has .been 
very generally said that a letter to 
a nun named Idonea, encouraging 
her to perform a dangerous task 
in delivering a mandate from the 
Pope to the Archbishop of York 
(Ep. 196), was written on this 
occasion : but it seems rather to 
relate to the letter forbidding the 
coronation. Gamier (124) and 
Gervase (141) speak of a servant 
" uaslet a pie " " puer " as 
employed on this occasion, and 
Koger says that his name was Os- 
bern (i. 159). 

c Gamier, 124 ; Gervase, 141. 




enemies. He had already received several warnings as 
to their designs ; and now, as he was pacing the beach 
at Witsand, the master of a vessel which came in from 
England reported that the coast was beset by armed 
men, who were, bent on seizing, and probably murdering 
him. a But his resolution to return to Canterbury was 
not to be shaken by any fear of danger. He declared 
that for more than six years he had been an exile, and 
that, although he believed his death to be at hand even 
if he were to be torn limb from limb nothing should 
any longer keep him from his post. b It was in no spirit 
of peace or conciliation that he prepared to return ; the 
step which he had taken in making use of the papal 
letters, which were intended to be published only in 
extremity, and were certain to reopen and envenom 
the wounds which had been superficially healed, was 
censured by all but those in whom personal devotion to 
him had wholly overpowered their prudence and their 

Comp. Gamier, 122-3. 
b iii. 83-4 ; Fitzst., i. 280 ; Will. 
Cant., ii. 28; Herb., vii. 310-5; 

Gamier, 123. 

c See Anon. Lambeth., ii. 116 
Will. Neubrig., ii. 25, p. 154. 

A.D. 1170. 

( 253 ) 



AFTER a favourable passage the Archbishop landed at 
Sandwich, a town belonging to his see, a and in that age 
" the . most famous of all English seaports." b As the 
vessel approached the harbour, the archiepiscopal banner 
of the cross was displayed, and a multitude flocked forth 
at the sight to welcome their spiritual father some 
rushing into the water that they might be the first to 
receive his blessing, while others knelt or prostrated 
themselves by the wayside where he was to pass, and the 
air was filled with cries of " Blessed ife he that cometh 
in the name of the Lord !" c His enemies had expected 
him to land at Dover ; but it would seem that they had 
been apprised of his change of plan, and soon after his 
arrival at Sandwich a party of them appeared in arms, 
headed by Gervase de Cornhill, sheriff of Kent, Reginald 
de Warrenne, and Eanulf de Broc, who had been in 
communication with the suspended and excommunicated 
bishops at Dover. d Violence was, however, prevented 

a Boys, 'Hist. of Sandwich,' 655. 

b " Omnium Anglorum portuum 
famosissimus." Encomium Em- 
m&, quoted in ' Handb. of Kent 
and Sussex.' (202.) If the landing 
was on Tuesday (see p. 339), the 

day was Dec. 1, as the continuer of 
Florence of Worcester says (ii. 
142) ; but the statements vary as 
to this. 

c Herb., vii. 315. 

d Roger, 159. For R. de War- 




by the presence of John of Oxford, who took aside the 
leaders of the force, and represented to them the discredit 
which would result to the King from any seeming breach 
of the late agreement ; a nor, indeed, were they strong 
enough to attempt any violence in the face of the multi- 
tudes who were exulting in the Archbishop's return, and 
were ready to fight for him as their feudal lord. b The 
sheriff, in order that he might not appear to have come 
without an object, inquired whether there were any 
foreign clerks in the Archbishop's train, and wished to 
exact from the Archdeacon of Sens, who appears to have 
been the only person of this description, an oath that he 
had no design against the peace of the realm, and would 
behave with fidelity to the King. But, although the 
archdeacon was ready to comply, Becket protested 
against this, as unprecedented and inhospitable: such 
oaths, he said, ought not to be exacted except from 
persons who were liable to suspicion; nothing of the 
kind had ever been required from clerks in attendance on 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he would not allow 
the practice to begin with himself. On being desired to 
absolve the bishops, he said that he had the King's 
licence for pronouncing censures on them, but deferred 
his answer until he should be at Canterbury ; and, after 

renne, see Foss, i. 319 ; for G. de 
Cornhill, ib., 226; for John of 
Oxford, ib., 288. De Warreime 
was of a great family, which Becket 
had provoked by preventing the 
marriage of one of the daughters 
with the King's brother William, 
on the ground of consanguinity ; 

an impediment with which ecclesi- 
astics in those days played fast and 
loose in the case of persons of 
rank. See Fitzst., i. 303. 

a Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 300, col. 
350, A ; Gamier, 124. 

b Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 300 ; S. T. 
0., iii. 85 ; Gervas., 1413. 

A.D. 1170. 



some high words, the sheriff and his companions with- 

On the following day the Archbishop proceeded to 
Canterbury. The news of his landing had already spread, 
and the general enthusiasm rendered his journey a sort 
of triumph. As he passed along the road the whole 
population of the neighbourhood pressed to see him 
each parish headed by its priest. They stripped off 
their clothes and spread them in the way, while one 
party after another caught up and prolonged the jubilant 
cry, " Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the 
Lord !" b On reaching his city the Primate was received 
with processions. The cathedral was adorned with the 
most sumptuous hangings ; the clergy were arrayed in 
their festival robes ; banquets were prepared to welcome 
the chief pastor ; hymns, organs, trumpets, bells, loudly 
testified the general joy. c 

As the Archbishop entered the cathedral, his face was 
flushed as if with exultation and joy, and the expression 
of it was remarked as singularly gracious. d After having 
prostrated himself on the pavement he took his place in 
the choir, where he received the monks, one by one, to 

a iii. 84-5 ; Fitzsl, i. 281 ; 
Roger, ib., 159 ; Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 
300 ; Gamier, 125-6. 

b Herbert's " Diceres profecto si 
videres, Domiiram secundo ad pas- 
sionem appropinquare" (vii. 317) 
i. e., one aware of what was at 
hand might have said so is not 
quite the same as M. Michelet's 

" Tons disaient que," &c. ; and it 
is rather startling to find the 
words which follow, as to " dying 
at Canterbury for the English 
Church," translated "qu'il allait 
souffrir pour Kent" (iii. 185.) 

c Fitzst., i. 282. 

d Herb., vii. 317. 




the kiss of peace a many of them breaking forth into 
tears and cries of emotion. Herbert tells us that, at this 
stage of the proceedings, he approached his master and 
whispered to him, " My Lord, now we need not care how 
soon you leave the world, forasmuch as this day Christ 
and His spouse, the Church, have conquered in you :" to 
which Becket replied only by a look. b From the choir 
he proceeded to the chapter-house, where he preached 
an eloquent sermon on the text, " Here we have no 
continuing city, but we seek one to come;" c and the 
remainder of the day was spent in the palace with joy 
and festive solemnity.* 1 

* The relation of the monks 
with the Archbishop had not been 
very friendly. John of Salisbury 
writes in 1168 : "Monachi Can- 
tuarienses hoc quasi hsereditarium 
semper habent, ut archiepiscopos 
suos oderint. . . . Anselmo, bis pro 
justitia exulant qui [exulantiV] 
nihil unquam solatii contulerunt. 
Contempserunt Kadulphum, ode- 
runt Willelmum, Theobaldo te- 
tenderunt insidias : et ecce nunc 
Thornam gratis insatiabiliter per- 
sequuntur." (Ep. 241 ) In John's 
letters there are constant appeals 
to them for money in aid of the 
Archbishop's necessities, and com- 
plaints that these appeals were in- 
eftectual (e. g., Epp. 152, 247-8, 
289). In Ep. 299, written soon 
after the reconciliation, he endea- 
vours to stir them up to meet their 
spiritual father on his return, as 
their predecessors had been the 
foremost to meet Anselm. John 

had lately been employed to ab- 
solve all who had incurred guilt 
by intercourse with excommuni- 
cates ; and among them he had 
absolved the monks of Christ- 
church. (Ep. 300 ; Gamier, 121.) 

b vii. 318. 

c Ib., 283; Will. Cant., ii. 29. 
Messrs. Thierry (iii. 182), Mi- 
chelet (iii. 186 \ and Martin (iii. 
488, ed. 4), tell us that the text 
was, u Venio ad vos mori inter 
vos." Unfortunately, however, 
they do not give a reference to the 
place in Scripture where these 
words are to be found ; and Hove- 
den, to whom they refer for the 
fact, says only that the Archbishop 
used this expression on some oc- 
casion after his return ( 298 ) . Gar- 
nier seems to say that the words 
were introduced into this sermon 

d Herb., vii. 318. 

A.D. 1170. 


Next morning the sheriff of Kent, with Kanulf de 
Broc and other officers of the King, appeared to require 
the answer which had been promised to them on the 
subject of the excommunicated and suspended bishops. a 
They were accompanied by some clerks from the pre- 
lates themselves, who strongly remonstrated against the 
Primate's proceedings ; that, when his suffragans were 
waiting to receive him back with honour, he had covered 
them with shame by inflicting censures on them without 
warning or trial ; that he had come, not in peace but 
with fire and sword, trampling down his episcopal breth- 
ren and making them his footstool ; and they required 
that the censures should be recalled. 13 The Archbishop 
answered that he did not plot against the bishops, but 
that they thirsted for his blood : " Would," he added, 
" that they might drink it ! and they will." The cen- 
sures, he said, had not been inflicted by himself, but by 
the Pope (an assertion which might possibly be recon- 
ciled in words with the fact that Becket had been autho- 
rised to withhold the use of the censures altogether, and, 
if he pronounced them, to absolve all but his brother me- 
tropolitan) ; d if, however, the delinquents would bind 
themselves by oath to obey the Pope's commands, he 
would take it on himself to release them. The other 
party declared that such an oath was against the custom 

8 iii. 85 ; Herb., vii. 318. 

b Fitzst., 283. 

c We have already seen that 
Becket imputes thirst for his blood 
to William of Pa via ; meaning 
that the cardinal wished to get 

him set aside by a translation 
(p. 204) ; and the same favourite 
exaggeration is used with regard 
to Foliot and other English 
bishops (iii. 22, 174, 328-9, &c.). 
d See the old edition, p. 843. 




of the kingdom ; but Becket replied that, unless on such 
terms, an inferior judge could not relax a sentence of his 
superior ; and they departed in anger De Broc violently 
abusing the Archbishop. a It is said that the Bishops of 
London and Salisbury were disposed to accept the pro- 
posed terms, but that they were overruled by Eoger of 
York, who boasted that he had both the King and the 
Pope at his service, and declared himself willing to 
empty his coffers to spend eight nay ten thousand 
pounds, in order to put down Becket's insolence ; and 
the three prelates proceeded together to the King's 
court in Normandy. b 

After having spent a week at Canterbury, Becket set 
out with the intention of visiting the younger Henry at 
Woodstock, and presenting him with three horses, on the 

a Job. Sarisb., Ep. 300, col. 350 ; 
Herb., vii. 319. 

b Job.. Sarisb., col. 351 ; Fitzst., 
283-4 ; Will. Cant., 29 ; S. T. 
C., iii. 85-6 ; Gamier, 132. Roger 
is described by William of New- 
burgh (iii. 5) as a very grasping 
prelate, who utterly disregarded 
his spiritual duties. John of Salis- 
bury charges him with the most 
abominable vices (Ep. 305). He 
was especially remarkable for the 
tenacity with which he asserted 
his supposed rights against all 
whose claims came into collision 
with his. As Archdeacon of 
Canterbury, he quarrelled with 
the monks of Christchurch (Has- 
ted, iv. 777) ; as Archbishop of 
York, he quarrelled with the 
Scotch bishops, and not only with 

Becket, but with his successor 
Kichard. The most notorious dis- 
play of his contentiousness was at 
a council held by a papal legate in 
1176. Finding Eichard of Canter- 
bury seated in the place which he 
claimed for himself on the ground 
of his earlier consecration, he sat 
down in the southern Archbishop's 
lap, " irreverenter natibus inni- 
tens," says Stephen of Birching- 
ton (in Wharton, Angl. Sac., i. 
9) ; whereupon some of Eichard's 
suffragans and clerks dragged the 
old brawler away, threw him 
down, tore his robes, and severely 
hurt him. The legate, horrified 
by such a display of English epis- 
copal manners, broke up the council 
in alarm, and there was much trou- 
ble in the sequel. See Diceto, 589. 

A.D. 1170. 



beauty of which Fitzstephen dilates with characteristic 
enthusiasm. 4 But the young King had been influenced 
against him by the Archdeacon of Canterbury and others, 
who had been commissioned for that purpose by the 
Archbishop of York and his brethren ; b and Kichard, 
prior of St. Martin's at Dover, who was sent to announce 
the intended visit, met with a discouraging reception.* 1 
The Primate, however, persevered. In passing through 
Kochester he was received with great honour by the 
bishop that same Walter, brother of Archbishop Theo- 
bald, who a quarter of a century before had protected 
him against the malice of his lifelong enemy, Koger of 
Pont I'Eveque, 6 and who perhaps was, for the sake of old 
remembrances, treated with greater lenity than other 
prelates who had taken part in the late coronation. As 
the Primate reached the capital, where he lodged at his 
steady friend the Bishop of Winchester's palace in South- 
wark, crowds of clergy and laity flocked to meet him ; 

* i. 284. 

b iii. 86 ; Grim, i. 66. 

c Kichard had been a monk of 
Canterbury, and afterwards a 
chaplain in Theobald's household, 
at the same time with Becket, 
whom he eventually succeeded in 
the primacy. (Herb. vii. 320-1 ; 
Gervas., 1673.) 

d Garnier says that he found 
the young King at Winchester 

e See p. 21. Walter held the 
see of Kochester from 1147 to 
1182. The Pope had reproved 
and suspended him for his share 

in the coronation (iv. 85-7). John 
of Salisbury had written to him 
during the exile, requesting as- 
sistance for the Archbishop, and re- 
proaching him for not sending any. 
(Ep. 256; cf. 260, 265.) In Ep. 
248, John says that he had in vain 
attempted to persuade the Arch- 
bishop to delegate any part of his 
authority to the bishop. Peter of 
Blois wrote a letter of remon- 
strance to Walter for indulging his 
love of the chase when an octoge- 
narian. (Ep. 56, which Goussuin- 
ville dates in 1176.) 





but in the midst of the general rejoicings a crazy woman 
excited alarm and horror by repeated cries of " Arch- 
bishop, beware of the knife !" On the following morning 
Thomas of Tunbridge, and Joscelin of Louvain, brother 
of Henry I.'s queen, appeared as messengers from the 
Court, with an order that, as the Archbishop had broken 
the terms of peace by his late acts, he should proceed 
no farther, but should return to his diocese without 
entering into any of the King's towns or castles. a He 
declared that he would not have regarded this mandate 
were it not that he wished to keep the coming festival 
at his own cathedral ; but he prepared to obey. b 

Before finally turning his face homewards, however, 
it is said that he spent some days at Harrow, the archi- 
episcopal manor which had been the scene of his first 
introduction to Theobald. From this place he sent a 
letter to Abbot Simon of St. Alban's, requesting a visit ? 
and adding that he " had never been so much in need 
of consolation as then." In no long time a " noble " 
gift of provisions from the Abbot was announced. " I 
accept his presents," said Becket, "but would rather 
have his presence." "Lo, my Lord," answered an 
attendant, " here he is at the door." At Becket's ur- 
gent desire, the Abbot undertook a mission to the 
young King's Court, but soon returned to report that he 

Gamier, 130; Bened., ed. 
Hearne, i. 9 ; Hoveden, 298. 
' b Herb. vii. 321. Yet Grim (66) 
and Hoveden (298) say that he had 
hoped to spend Christmas with the 
young King. Herbert tells us that 
it was his intention, after visiting 

Henry, " to make a circuit of his 
province, panting to run up and 
down in all directions, that he 
might pluck up and root out what- 
soever during his absence had 
grown up crooked and disorderly 
in the Lord's garden." vii. 321. 

A.D. 1170. 



had been received at Woodstock with insults, and even 
with threats of violence. The Archbishop heard this 
with calmness, and expressed a belief that matters were 
beyond the hope of cure ; then, turning to his clergy, he 
contrasted the kindness of the Abbot, who was in no 
way bound to him, with the treatment which he had 
received from his brother bishops and suffragans. In 
answer to Simon's entreaty that he would spend the 
coming Christmas at the abbey of the British proto- 
martyr, he declared, with tears, that he would gladly do 
so, but that it was impossible. He begged the Abbot to 
accompany him to Canterbury and become his com- 
forter in his troubles. " May the Lord and his martyr," 
he said, " make the solemnity of the Nativity prosperous 
and joyful in your house, which may God preserve! 
Pray the blessed martyr, your patron, for me, and we 
will pray for you ; and I will celebrate the festival in 
the church committed to me after such fashion as the 
Lord shall provide." a 

As he was about to set out for Canterbury, intelli- 
gence reached the Archbishop that a vessel laden with 
French wines for him although the King had allowed 
the wines to pass through his continental territory had 
been seized by Eanulf de Broc, who had beaten or slain 
some of the sailors and had imprisoned others in Pe- 
vensey Castle ; but by a representation of the case to the 
young King an order for redress was obtained. b On his 

a Matt. Paris, Hist. Major, 123-4 ; 
Vitee Abbatum, 91-2, ed. Wats. 
See Appendix XXVII. 

b Fitzst. i. 286 ; Bened. Petrib. 
in S. T. C., ii. 60. 




way through his diocese the Archbishop confirmed great 
numbers of children, dismounting for the purpose wher- 
ever they were brought to him ; and we are told that 
he performed many miraculous cures on the blind, the 
deaf, the dumb, and the lepers nay, that he even 
recalled the dead to life. a There is, too, a strange tale 
of an interview at Wrotham with a priest, who, by a 
story of a revelation as to relics of St. Laurence and 
other holy personages, procured for himself a promise 
of a benefice, which was fulfilled on the last day of 
Becket's life/ 

The interval until Christmas was full of occupation. 
The Archbishop heard causes in his court ; he turned 
out clerks who had intruded into livings ; and his devo- 
tion, alms, and other saintly exercises are described as 
surprising even to those who had attended on him during 
his exile. But, while he was thus employed, it was 
remarked that persons of rank and wealth kept aloof 
from him; d and his enemies in the neighbourhood, 
especially the family of Broc (" that generation of 
vipers," as Herbert styles them), 6 were unremitting in 
their endeavours to annoy him. They attacked and 
beat his people on the highways ; they even laid wait 
for himself ; they hunted in his chase, killed his deer, 
and carried away his dogs ; they intercepted supplies of 
food which were on their way for the use of his house- 
hold ; and Kanulf de Broc's brother Kobert, who had 

a Grim, i. 67. " Les morz e re- 
mure e aler." Gamier, 121. 
b Fitzst., 287, 293. 
c Grim, i. 66; Koger, 159; 

Fitzst., 289 ; Gamier, 126. 

d Job. Sarisb., Ep. 300, 

e vii. 322. 


A.D. 1170. 



formerly been a clerk, and afterwards a Cistercian 
monk, but had thrown off the monastic profession, insti- 
gated his nephew John to cut off the tail of one of the 
archiepiscopal sumpter-horses. a In the night service 
which ushered in the Christmas festival, Becket read 
the lesson of our Lord's generation and celebrated the 
nocturnal mass. b On Christmas Day, at High Mass, he 
preached on the text " On earth peace to men of good 
will." c He told the people that there had already been 
one martyr among the Archbishops of Canterbury (St. 
Alphege, who was murdered by the Danes in 1012), 
and that there might soon be another. He spoke of 
himself, with tears and sobs, as about shortly to leave 
the world, and the hearers were deeply affected by his 
pathetic language and gestures. "All through the 
church," says Herbert, " you might see and hear lamen- 
tations and the flowing of tears, with murmurs of 
1 Father, why dost thou forsake us so soon ? or to whom 
dost thou leave us desolate ? ' " d But after a time he 

a Ep. 183 (a complaint to the 
King) ; Grim, i. 68; Fitzst., i. 288 ; 
Herb., vii. 322. Gamier (131) 
seems to be wrong in saying that 
the outrage was committed before 
the Archbishop's eyes. 

b Fitzst., 292. 

c " In terra paxhonrinibus bonse 
voluntatis" (Luc. ii. 14). We 
might be startled at Dr. Giles's 
statement, that " On earth peace, 
good will towards men," was " his 
favourite text," and might think 
it a strange prelude to the scene 
which followed. But the words as 

they stand in the Latin Vulgate 
were a subject "circa quam pluri- 
mum versatus est" (Fitzst., 292), 
and his application of them may 
be gathered from the account of 
his interview with the emissaries 
of the censured Bishops after his 
return to Canterbury, when he 
told them " that there is no true 
peace save for men of good will " 
(ib. 283). It was evidently the 
negative side of the proposition 
that he preferred. 
d vii. 322. 


changed his tone, and, in a style which the same bio- 
grapher describes as " fierce, indignant, fiery, and bold," 
he uttered a vehement invective against the courtiers 
in general and his other enemies ^ he repeated his de- 
nunciations of the prelates who had been concerned in 
the coronation ; and, with all solemnity, he pronounced 
sentence of excommunication against Nigel de Sack- 
ville for retaining the church of Harrow, into which he 
had been intruded during the exile ; against another 
priest, who had been guilty of a like offence ; and 
against the brothers De Broc, for the oppressions and 
outrages of which they had been guilty against the 
Church. a 

On St. John's Day, Herbert of Bosham and the 
crossbearer, Alexander Llewellyn, were sent off on a 
mission to the French King and the Pope. Herbert 
speaks of himself as having taken leave of his master 
with a gloomy foreboding that he should never again 
see him alive. b 

In the mean time the Archbishop of York, with the two 
excommunicated bishops, had repaired to the King, who 
was at Bur or Bures, near Bayeux. Henry had already 
been informed of the censures pronounced against them, 
and, on their repeating the story, he swore by God's 
eyes that if all concerned in the coronation were to 
be excommunicated, he himself must be included. 

Grim, 68 ; Fitzst., 292 ; Herb., 
vii. 323. See S. T. C., iii. 85. 
Mr. Morris is not ashamed to re- 
peat with satisfaction after Fitz- 
stephen, that Nigel and other ob- 

jects of Becket's denunciations 
died prematurely or unhappily. 

b vii. 324 ; Fitzst., 292. 

c Gamier, 136; Will. Cant., ii. 

A.D. 1170. 



The Archbishop's late movements were reported with 
malicious exaggeration. The popular demonstrations 
with which he had been everywhere received were 
represented as of a seditious tendency ; an escort of five 
horsemen, by which he was accompanied on his return 
from London to Canterbury, was multiplied into a 
formidable force, with which it was said that he was 
marching through England, besieging towns and in- 
tending to drive out the younger King. a By these 
statements the King was wrought up to one of his un- 
controllable fits of fury, which the Archbishop of York 
and the Bishop of London Folio t, it is said, even with 
tears b in vain attempted to mitigate. Henry asked the 
prelates to advise him. " Ask your barons and knights," 
said Eoger ; " it is not for us to say what ought to 
be done." At length one of them, apparently the 
Archbishop of York, c observed, "As long as Thomas 
lives, my Lord, you will have no quiet days, nor any 
peace in your kingdom." On this the King burst forth 
into a passionate exclamation, " A fellow who has eaten 
my bread has lifted up his heel against me ! He insults 

30 ; Herb., vii. 319-20. " The 
King," says a late biographer, 
" seems to have forgotten, or, 
worse still, to have kept back from 
them, the permission which he 
had given Becket previous to his 
departure, to punish those who 
had offended against the privileges 
of his see." But surely it is not 
to be supposed that Henry could 
ever have knowingly consented to 
such measures as had been taken 
against prelates whose fault con- 

sisted in complying with his own 
desire ; nor, in so far as we can 
understand, did the Archbishop 
intend to use the powers entrusted 
to him in such a manner, until im- 
mediately before he acted. 

a Fitzst, i. 287, 289. 

b vi. 172 (letter from the Arch- 
bishop of York to the Pope). 

c See Joh. Sarisb., ii. 261, who 
compares the counsel of Caiaphas, 
" that one man should die for the 




over my favours, dishonours the whole royal race, 
tramples down the whole kingdom. A fellow who first 
broke into my court on a lame horse, with a cloak for a 
saddle, swaggers on my throne, while you, the com- 
panions of my fortune, look on ! " and again and again 
he loudly reproached his courtiers as thankless cowards 
for suffering him to be so long exposed to the insolence 
of an upstart clerk.* 

These hasty and most unhappy words were caught up 
by four knights, men of high connexions and officers of 
the household Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Morville, 
William de Tracy, and Eichard Brito, or le Breton. b 
Stung by the King's reproaches, and thinking to gratify 
him by carrying out his apparent wish, the four set out 
for England and hurried to the coast, whence, em- 

a Grim, 68 ; Gamier, 134 ; Fitzst, 
290 ; Will. Cant., 30-1 ; Herb., vii. 
326. The effect of this had a 
parallel in the Iconoclastic con- 
troversy, when the popular sym- 
pathy for a zealous monk named 
Stephen provoked Constantine 
Copronymus to exclaim, " Am I, 
or is this monk, Emperor of the 
world ? " whereupon some courtiers 
hurried to the prison in which 
Stephen was confined, broke it 
open, and murdered him. Theo- 
phanes, p. 674, ed. Bonn. 

b For Hugh de Morville, see 
Foss, i. 279; for all the four, 
Stanley, 54-6. One of Foliot's 
letters (Ep. 221) is an application 
to Bishop Cheney, of Lincoln, in 
behalf of one " K. Brito," who 
wtis connected by marriage with 

both Bishops. He mentions that 
the King had rewarded Brito's 
services liberally, but requests the 
Bishop of Lincoln to befriend a 
younger son, who was intended for 
the ecclesiastical profession (pos- 
sibly Kichard Brito, afterwards 
Archdeacon of Coventry, as to 
whom see Foss, i. 347). If Foliot's 
brother-in-law were the same per- 
son with, or related to, the Brito 
mentioned in the text, the con- 
nexion would have been a special 
cause for enmity against Becket. 

c Gamier says that they were 
instigated by the Archbishop of 
York, who supplied them with 
money, and suggested the words 
which they used in their parley 
with Becket. 136. 

A.D. 1170. 



barking at different ports, two of them were conveyed 
to Winchelsea and the others to a harbour near Dover.* 
"They landed," says Grim, "at Dogs' Haven they 
who from that time deserved to be called dogs and 
wretches, not knights or soldiers." The speed and ease 
with which they had crossed the sea ; the circumstance 
that, by their various routes, they all reached the same 
destination within the same hour, appeared to them as 
signs that Providence favoured their purpose ; but the 
biographers see in these things the speeding power of 
the Evil One who had suggested the enterprise. b It 
was on Innocents' Day that they arrived at Saltwood, 
where they were received into the castle by Kanulf de 
Broc. Then, if not before, they must have learned the 
fresh offence committed by Becket on Christmas Day ; 
and the night was spent in consultation. 

After the departure of the knights, the King held a 
council of his barons to advise on the course which 
should be pursued towards the Primate. Thomas, he 
said, had entered his kingdom like a tyrant ; he had 
suspended and excommunicated prelates for their obe- 
dience to the royal command ; he had disturbed the 
whole country ; he intended to dethrone both son and 
father ; he had got from the Pope a legatine power over 

a " Portus Canum," Grim, i. 65 ; 
Gervase, 1414. This name does 
not occur in topographical books. 
Some writers name Dover itself. 

b Grim, 69 ; Fitzst., 290 ; Herb., 
vii. 326 ; Gervase, 1414 ; Gamier, 

c Garnier, 137 ; Herb., 327. "In 

the darkness of the night the 
long winter night of the 28th of 
December it was believed that, 
with candles extinguished, and not 
even seeing each other's faces, the 
scheme was concerted." Stanley, 




the Crown, and privileges as to Church patronage which 
did away with the rights of the nobility, and even of the 
King himself. The general feeling was one of violent 
anger. " The only way to deal with such a fellow is by 
hanging," said Engelger de Bohun, uncle of the excom- 
municate Bishop of Salisbury. " As I passed through 
Rome, on my return from Jerusalem," said William Mal- 
voisin, nephew of the Count of Brittany, " I was told of 
a Pope who was slain for his insufferable insolence and 
presumption." a It was resolved that the Earl of Man- 
deville, with Eichard de Humet, justiciary of Normandy, 
and Seyer de Quinci, should be despatched into England 
with a warrant to arrest the Archbishop, and with orders, 
if possible, to overtake the four knights, whose absence 
from the Court had been remarked, and had excited a 
fear that they might be bent on some desperate design. 15 
But this measure was too late. 

On the morning after their arrival at Saltwood 
Tuesday, the 29th of December the knights, accom- 
panied by Eanulf de Broc and others, set out for Can- 
terbury. By the use of the King's name they added to 
their party a number of soldiers from the neighbouring 
castles, and the force was further increased by some re- 
tainers of St. Augustine's monastery, where they held a 

8 Fitzst, 290-1. Was this Pope 
Lucius II., who was killed in 
chance-medley in 1145? This 
writer tells a story of a priest to 
whom a servant of the court made 
a confession as to an order for the 
Archbishop's death, written by 
Nigel de Sackville (277) ; and this 

is introduced into a note in Mr. 
Froude's volume, p. 539. But it 
is too absurd even for Mr. Buss to 
adopt (624) ; nay, Mr. Morris him- 
self does not seem to vouch for it. 
b Fitzst., i. 291. 

From a Photograph by G. Austin. 

A.D. 1170. 



consultation with the abbot Clarembald. a From the 
monastery they proceeded, with about twelve armed at- 
tendants, to the Archbishop's palace, while others of 
their followers were sent to the magistrates of the city 
with a command that all the inhabitants should repair 
in arms to the palace for the King's service. As, how- 
ever, it became evident that the citizens were not dis- 
posed to aid them, the summons was exchanged for an 
order that no one should stir, whatever might be seen or 
heard. b It was about three o'clock in the afternoon 
when the knights reached the palace, wearing their 
armour concealed under the ordinary dress of civil life. 
The Archbishop's dinner was over ; but some of his re- 
tainers were still at table, and, on seeing them, offered 
them refreshment, which, says Grim, " they thirsting 
rather for blood, refused." d They were recognised by 
William Fitznigel, the Archbishop's seneschal, " a hand- 
some cavalier, great and rich and well feoffed," as Gar- 
nier describes him, who, since the dinner was ended, had 
asked and obtained his master's leave to quit his service 
for that of the King. 6 On their expressing a wish to 
speak with the Archbishop, Fitznigel returned into the 
room which he had just left, and, without naming them, 
announced that four barons from the Court desired an 
audience in the King's name. He was desired to admit 
them forthwith ; and they found Becket conversing with 

8 Fitzst., 293-4; Job. Sarisb., 
ii. 273, ed. Giles. 

b Fitzst., 294 ; Gamier, 138. 

c Gervase, 1415 ; Eoger, i. 160. 
Others make the time later ; but, 

as the day was Dec. 29, the earliest 
hour that is named will suit best 
with the story. 

d 70. 

e Gamier, 138. 




some of his monks and clergy, as was his usual habit 
after dinner.* 

It is said that from the beginning of the day he had 
shown a presentiment of evil. He had confessed with 
extraordinary contrition and devotion ; b but neither his 
own forebodings nor the reports which he had received 
as to the arrival and proceedings of the knights in the 
town c could shake his resolution to abide what might be 
in store for him. At the moment of their entrance he 
was engaged in earnest conversation ; nor did he become 
aware of their presence until, on turning round, he found 
them sitting on the floor close to his feet, and an archer, 
who had followed them, seated behind them. For some 
moments the Archbishop and his visitors remained gazing 
at each other without speaking a word ; and on his at 
length greeting Tracy by name, there was still no answer, 
until Fitzurse replied, in a contemptuous and ironical 
tone, " God help thee !" d Once more the parties looked 
at each other in silence, which was at length broken by 
Fitzurse saying that he and his companions were charged 
with a message from the King, and asking whether the 
Archbishop would hear it privately or publicly. " Just 
as you please," was his answer. " Nay, at your pleasure," 
said the knights. " Nay, at yours," rejoined the Arch- 
bishop ; and the scene of compliments became embar- 
rassing 6 until, at the desire of John of Salisbury, the 

ft Eoger, 161. 
b Anon. Lamb., 121. 
c Fitzst. 291. 

d Gamier, 139; Grim, 70; 
Koger, 161 ; Fitzst., 294. 

" Li bers respundi, ' tut a uostre talent.' 
' Mais al uostre,' funt il. ' Mais as uoz,' 

fait li ber. 
Dune en unt comencie' entrels a estri- 

tier J> 

Gamier, 139-140. 


clergy were dismissed the door, however, being left 
a-jar. a But when the knights had begun to state their 
business, the Archbishop desired that the clergy might 
be recalled, as such matters ought not to be discussed in 
private. One of the four is said to have afterwards con- 
fessed that, when left alone with him, they had thoughts 
of murdering him with the shaft of his crozier which, 
as they had laid aside their offensive armour before en- 
tering, was the only weapon within reach. b 

They remonstrated with great vehemence, in the 
King's name, against the Archbishop's late proceedings 
his breach of the agreement which had been concluded 
with Henry the censures which he had uttered on the 
prelates who had been concerned in the coronation, and 
which they represented as an attack on the younger 
King's sovereignty the excommunication of the King's 
ministers and friends his going about the country (as 
they asserted) with formidable troops of followers, and 
exciting the people to demonstrations which endangered 
the peace of the realm. " Our Lord the King," said 
Fitzurse, " charges you to go with all speed to his son 
the King, who is now on this side of the sea, to swear 
fealty to him, and make atonement for your offences 
against the King's Majesty." c 

The Archbishop replied that, with the exception of the 
young King's father, there was no one who loved him 
more tenderly than himself; that, far from having any 

a Roger, 161 ; Bened., ii. 55. I Bened., ii. 55-6 ; Gamier, 140. 
b Grim, i. 71 ; Koger, i. 162 ; I c Bened., ii. 56. 


thoughts against his royalty, he heartily wished that it 
were multiplied three or fourfold ; that there was no 
just cause of offence in the peaceful welcome with which 
his retainers had received him, after six years of absence. 
If, he said, he had exceeded in anything, he was willing 
to answer for it, in court or elsewhere. As to the ex- 
communication and suspension of the bishops, these were 
pronounced by the Pope, and his own part in them had 
been only instrumental ; he had no jurisdiction over the 
Archbishop of York, but would absolve the Bishops of 
London and Salisbury, if they would humbly ask pardon 
and would give security to abide a trial, according to the 
canons ; and he declared that, at the accommodation on 
St. Mary Magdalene's day, he had obtained the King's 
leave to punish those who had invaded his office. " What 
do you say ?" exclaimed Fitzurse ; " do you charge the 
King with such monstrous treachery as allowing you to 
suspend and excommunicate those whose share in his 
son's coronation was ordered by himself ?" " Keginald," 
answered Becket, " I do not charge the King with 
treachery ; but hundreds of prelates, nobles, and monks 
heard our agreement, and you yourself were one of them." 
" I neither was there, nor did I ever see or hear any such 
thing." " God knows," replied the Archbishop, " for I 
am certain that I saw you there." Fitzurse furiously 
swore that he had not been present, and all the knights 
exclaimed that the imputation on the King was not to 
be endured. a With regard to his lay retainers, the 

Bened., ii. 58-9 ; Gamier, 142. 


Archbishop professed that he would do anything which 
could be reasonably asked of him ; but that neither he 
nor any of his clerks should take any oath. "From 
whom is it that you hold your Archbishopric ?" asked 
Fitzurse. " The spiritualities," he answered, " from God 
and the Pope ; the temporalities from the King." " Do 
you not own that you hold all from the King?" "By 
no means ; but we must render unto the King the things 
that are the King's, and unto God the things that are 
God's." On receiving this answer the knights started to 
their feet, gnashing their teeth, flashing fire from their 
eyes, tossing their gauntlets and waving about their arms, 
while the Archbishop also rose and confronted them. 
A confusion ensued, in which it was impossible to know 
distinctly what was said, or by whom. The Archbishop, 
in his turn, complained of the outrages which had been 
committed by the De Brocs and his other enemies ; and, 
in answer to De Morville, who told him that he ought 
to have sought redress from the King, he said that com- 
plaints to the King were useless ; he had been forbidden 
to approach the Court, and was determined to exert his 
own authority by unsparingly inflicting censures on all 
who should infringe the Church's rights. " These threats 
are too much !" exclaimed Fitzurse. The knights told 
him that the King commanded him to leave the king- 
dom, with his foreign clerks and all that belonged to him. 
He questioned whether they had the King's authority 
for this order ; but declared that not even the King 
should again place the sea between him and his flock, 
unless he were forcibly dragged away by the feet ; and 
at last, appealing to Fitzurse, Tracy, and Morville, he 





reminded them that they had become his vassals in the 
days of his Chancellorship/ 

At these words the fury of the knights burst through 
all restraint. " Thomas," said Fitzurse, " in the King's 
name I defy thee ; " and the other three joined in the 
defiance. They charged the monks and the members of 
the Archbishop's household who had pressed into the room 
to prevent his escape until their return. Becket loudly 
declared that he would not for fear of any living man quit 
the spot where he was. " You cannot be more ready to 
strike than I to suffer !" he exclaimed ; " foot to foot, 
you shall find me in the Lord's battle ;" and he re- 
peatedly pointed to his neck, in token of his willingness 
to die. As the knights rushed madly out, carrying with 
them the seneschal Fitznigel, the Archbishop followed 
them to the door. "Know," he cried, "that I did not 
come back to flee, and that I care little for your threats." 
"You will find that there is something else than 
threats," was the answer. He called on Hugh de 
Morville, who was the most distinguished in rank, to 
return and speak with him ; but his words met with no 
attention. b 

In proceeding to the palace, the knights had left the 
main body of their followers at a house opposite the 
gate. These were now called in, and, immediately 
after their admission, the gate was securely closed, 
although the wicket was still left open. The Arch- 

a Grim, 71-2 ; Koger, 163-4 ; 
Fitzst., 296 ; Bened., 58-61 ; Gar- 
nier, 141-2 ; Gervas., 1415. 

b Grim, i. 72; Eoger, i. 164 
Fitzst., i. 297-8 ; Bened., ii. 62 
Gamier, 143 ; Gervas., 1415. 


bishop's porter was replaced by sentinels ; Fitznigel, " at 
dinner the Archbishop's vassal and knight, but now 
against him," a with a retainer of St. Augustine's, sat 
mounted in the Court before the wicket ;' and all pos- 
sible care was taken to prevent any communication with 
the town. Fitzurse compelled one of the Archbishop's 
attendants to assist him in fastening his armour, and 
completed his equipment by snatching an axe from a 
carpenter who was engaged in repairing a wooden 
staircase. b In the mean time the Archbishop was en- 
deavouring to assure his terrified clerks, " with a manner 
as calm," says Grim, "as if his murderers had come to 
bid him to a wedding." c John of Salisbury expostulated 
with him on his obstinate refusal of all advice, and on 
the violence which he had just exhibited towards men 
so lawless. He replied that his mind was made up as to 
the course which should be taken ; and John could only 
observe in reply, " Would to God that it may be for 
good !" The conversation was interrupted by the 
entrance of some servants who cried out " My Lord, 
my Lord, they are arming!" "What matter?" the 
Archbishop calmly replied ; " let them arm." d Speedily 
the blows of an axe were heard, as if the knights 
were endeavouring to break down the door of the 
hall, which during their absence had been locked; 
but it stoutly resisted their efforts. On this, Kobert 
de Broc (who had become familiar with the intri- 
cacies of the palace while his brother held the custody 

Fitzst., 298. b Ib. i. 73. 

d Bened., 62-3 ; Koger, 164 ; Gamier, 143. 

T 2 




of it during the exile) undertook to show them 
another way ; and by passing through an orchard, 
breaking down a partition, ascending a ladder, and 
creeping through a window, they gained admission 
into the cloisters. Terrified by the noise of the 
blows on the door, and afterwards by the crash of 
the partition, most of the monks and clergy had fled, 
and the Archbishop was left with but a few com- 
panions among them the biographer Edward Grim, a 
young monk of Cambridge, who had arrived at Canter- 
bury a few days before. a These earnestly urged him 
to take refuge in the church ; but their entreaties, and 
even their representation that it was the hour of vespers, 
when his duty required him to attend the service, were 
ineffectual ; thirsting for what he regarded as martyr- 
dom, he wished to remain where he was, and insisted on 
the promise which he had given; that he would not flee. 
As his resolution appeared immoveable, his friends at 
length laid hands on him, compelled him to rise, and 
forcibly hurried him along. The orchard and the usual 
approach from the palace to the cathedral were guarded, 
so that it was necessary to take the way through the 
cloisters ; b but before reaching these, two locked doors 
were to be passed. The lock of the first was easily 
wrenched off ; as to the second, we are told by some 
writers that it fell off at the first touch, " as if it had only 
been glued to the door," while another writer accounts 

8 Gamier, 145. 

b For the localities see Pro- 
fessor Stanley's 'Memorials,' and 
Professor Willis's 'Architectural 

History of Canterbury Cathedral.' 
c Grim, 75; Koger, 166; Gar- 
nier, 146. 

A.D. 1170. 



for its removal without a miracle by saying that two 
cellarers, attracted by the noise, had run towards the 
door from the cloister side, and pulled off the lock from 
without. a The monks dragged, pushed, and partly 
carried the Archbishop along the northern and eastern 
sides of the cloister, while he struggled to get loose, 
reproached them for their fear, and vehemently desired 
them to unhand him. He twice gained his feet in the 
cloister, and once in the chapterhouse ; on one of these 
occasions he refused to proceed unless his cross were 
carried before him ; and the advance towards the church 
was delayed until Henry of Auxerre took his place as 
cross-bearer, in the stead of the absent Llewellyn. b 

As the Archbishop entered the north transept of the 
cathedral, the knights were seen at the farther end of 
the cloister in pursuit of him. The vesper service had 
begun, when two boys ran wildly into the choir, " an- 

a Bened., 64. " Benedict," says 
Professor Stanley, " knew no- 
thing of the seeming miracle, 
as his brethren were ignorant of 
the timely interference of the 
cellarmen." (68.) But this attempt 
to reconcile the authorities is 
not quite satisfactory. It is hardly 
conceivable that among the monks 
of Christchurch, from whom both 
stories come, the natural as well as 
the miraculous account should not 
have been generally known. The 
lock, too, is represented as coming 
oft' on different sides, so that there 
would seem to have been some 
wilful fabling. Compare the ear- 
lier lock-miracle, p. 129. 

b The narratives of Grim (73-5), 

Koger (166), Gamier (146), and 
Gervase (1416), who speak only of 
the forcible measures and of the 
struggle, are in remarkable dis- 
agreement with those of Herbert 
(329) andFitzstephen(199), which 
would lead us to suppose that the 
Archbishop proceeded along the 
cloister slowly, and with the great- 
est composure, " like a good shep- 
herd, driving all his sheep before 
him," and only once looking round 
to see whether the door through 
which he had passed had been 
shut again. Benedict, who har- 
monises these statements as far as 
possible, has been here chiefly 




nouncing," says William of Canterbury, "rather by 
their affright than by their words, that the enemies 
were about to break in." a On this the monks left the 
ehoir and hurried towards the transept, where they 
expressed great joy at seeing the Archbishop alive, as 
they had supposed him to have been already slain ; but 
he ordered them to return to their proper place and 
resume their office, saying that otherwise he would 
again leave the church. b Perceiving that some of his 
followers were beginning to fasten the doors behind 
him, he charged them, on their obedience, to leave them 
open, declaring that God's house ought not to be turned 
into a fortress, but was sufficient for the protection of 
its own. " Let all come in who will," he said ; and with 
his own hands he set the doors open, thrust back the 
crowd who pressed around, and drew in such of his own 
immediate followers as were still without in the cloister. 
At length he was forced away, just as the knights were 
about to enter ; but, although he was urged to make his 
escape, and might easily have done so as night was 
coming on and the cathedral had many hiding-places 
and outlets, he absolutely refused to withdraw. 

The monks had hurried him up four of the steps 
which led to the choir, as if he were proceeding to the 
altar at which he usually heard the services of the 
Church, d when Fitzurse rushed in from the cloister, 
shouting out, " After me, King's men ! " Close behind 
him came the other three, all, like himself, in complete 

* 32. 

b Gamier, 147. 

c Grim, 75 ; Roger, 167 ; Fitzst., 

300 ; Will. Cant., 32 ; Bened., 65 
Gamier, 147, 153. 
d Fitzst., 300. 


The Scene of Bucket's Murder. From a Photograph by G. A us! in 

A.D. 1170. 



armour, except that Tracy, in order to be lighter, had 
left his hauberk behind ; a Tracy, Morville, and Le Breton 
carrying battle-axes in their left hands, while Fitzurse 
still held the carpenter's hatchet, which, however, as it 
was not required for breaking open the door, he now 
cast on the pavement. The four were followed by a 
party of soldiers, more or less completely armed, and by 
some of the Canterbury people who had been pressed 
into the serviced As they entered, one of them charged 
the monks around him not to stir, and Fitzurse went to 
the right hand, while the others placed themselves on 
the left. "Where," cried Fitzurse, in the dimness of 
the faintly-lighted cathedral, "is the traitor Thomas 
Becket ? " and, as no answer was vouchsafed to this 
question, he laid hold of a monk, and asked " Where 
is the Archbishop ? " " Here am I," answered Becket ; 
" no traitor, but a priest of God ; if ye seek me, ye have 
found me. What would you have ? " At this, we are 
told by some of the biographers, eager to make out a 
parallel with the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, 
the murderers stepped back for awe. d One of them, 
however, answered, " Flee ; thou art a dead man ! " 
"I will not flee," said Becket; "I do not fear your 
swords. In the Lord's name I welcome death for God 
and for the Church's freedom." e Descending from the 
step on which he stood, he placed himself with his back 
against a pillar f near the opening of a small chapel, 

a Gamier, 149. 

b Fitzst., 300-1. 

c Gamier, 147 ; Gervas., 1672. 

d Fitzst., 301 ; Will. Cant., ii.32. 

e Herb., 331. 

f Grim, 76 ; Gamier, 148. The 
pillar is now removed. 




in which stood the altar of St. Benedict. The knights 
required him to absolve the excommunicated and sus- 
pended bishops. " Never," he replied, " will I absolve 
those who have not made satisfaction for their offences." 
" You are our prisoner," cried Fitzurse ; " you shall 
come with us ! " and the knights pressed closer to him, 
with the intention of placing him on the shoulders of 
Tracy, and so removing him from the church. " I will 
not go," he replied ; " you shall do here what you wish 
and have been ordered to do ; but in God's name, and 
under pain of anathema, I charge you to touch none 
of my people." a As Fitzurse laid hold of his pall, 
the Archbishop violently threw him off, and he after- 
wards seized Tracy, whom he shook with such force as 
to lay him on the ground. b " Keginald ! " he cried to 
Fitzurse, " do not touch me ; you owe me fealty," and 
he added the epithet "pander." At this intolerable 
word the knight " became glowing all over " d with fury, 
and waved his sword over the Archbishop's head, ex- 
claiming that he owed no fealty inconsistent with his 
duty to the King. The Archbishop then bowed his 

c This charge is much dwelt on 
in the attempted parallel, as by 
Joh. Sarisb., in S. T. C., i. 336 ; 
Fitzst., 302 ; Grim, 76 ; Gamier, 
148. But Herbert gives a charac- 
teristic touch of an opposite kind : 
" Nee enim tarn orabat ut parcer- 
ent, quam anathematizabat eos, si 
non parcerent." (338.) 

b Gamier, 148 ; Gervas., 1672. 

c Eoger, 167. Words of this 
kind appear to have risen very 
readily to Becket's lips in moments 

of violent excitement. "We have 
already noted an instance in the 
case of Earl Hamelin at North- 
ampton (p. 128). The epithet 
applied to Fitzurse was, indeed, 
the immediate cause of the mur- 
der ; and, as the use of such lan- 
guage would have been fatal to 
the evangelical parallel, it is 
omitted by the majority of writers 
in Becket's interest, down to Mr. 
Buss (649). 
d " Totus incanduit " (Grim, 76). 

A.D. 1170. 



head and commended his cause to God and the Blessed 
Virgin, to the martyr Alphege, and the other tutelar 
saints of Canterbury, and to the martyr Denys, the 
patron of the kingdom which had sheltered him in his 
exile. a The monks and clergy had all fled at the begin- 
ning of the struggle, except the biographer Grim b and 
Kobert of Merton, the Archbishop's confessor, with 
whose names Fitzstephen joins his own. While the 
knights were endeavouring to drag the Archbishop 
away, Grim had exerted all his strength in holding him 
back, and aiding him to resist their force, at the same 
time remonstrating with them on the ground of their 
own character and of the Archbishop's sacred office. 
" Strike ! strike ! " cried Fitzurse to his companions, and 
with the point of his sword he dashed off the Arch- 
bishop's cap. Tracy then raised his sword, and Grim, 
wrapping his arm in a cloak, lifted it up to ward off the 
stroke ; but the weapon almost severed the monk's arm, 
and, descending on the Archbishop's head, cut off the 
tonsured part of his crown, d which remained hanging 

" Al martyr saint Denis, qui dulce France 
apent." Gamier, 149. 

Cf. Job. Sarisb., Ep. 304 ; Fitzst, 
300 ; Herb., 337 ; Koger, 167. 

b " Le porte-croix Edouard Grim, 
le meme qui avait parle" avec tant 
de franchise apres la confe'rence 
de Clarendon." (Thierry, iii. 189.) 
We bave already noticed this at- 
tempt to enforce the Saxon theory. 
(See Appendix XV.) M. Thierry's 
account of the murder is very in- 
correct; and it has been closely 
followed by M. Michelet. 

c Gamier, 148. 

d Grim, 76 ; Anon. Lambeth., 
122-3; Garnier, 151. "It is a 
proof of the confusion of the sc^ne 
that Grim, the receiver of the blow, 
as well as most of the narrators, 
believed it to have been dealt by 
Fitzurse, while Tracy, who is 
known to have been the man, from 
his subsequent boast [at Salt- 
wood on the evening after the 
murder], believed that the monk 
whom he had wounded was John 
of Salisbury." [Garnier, 150.] 
Stanley, 76-7. 




only by the skin to the scalp. Being thus disabled, Grim 
took refuge at the nearest altar, to which many others 
were already clinging in an extremity of terror. Fitz- 
urse then let fall a heavy blow ; a another blow from Tracy 
brought the Archbishop to his knees ; and, as he fell, 
with his hands joined in prayer, repeating that he was 
ready to die for Christ and his Church, and commending 
his soul to God, Le Breton inflicted a fourth stroke, 
accompanying it with the words, " Take that for the 
sake of my Lord William, the King's brother ! " b The 
sword cut off the remaining part of the tonsure, and 
lighted on the pavement with such force that its point 
was broken off. Throughout the terrible scene, Hugh 
de Morville the highest in rank and the mildest in 
character of the four had been employed in guarding 
against a rescue, which there was reason to apprehend, 
and did not strike the Archbishop. When the deed 
was done, one Hugh Mauclerc, of Horsea, a sub-deacon 
attached to the household of the Brocs, d who had ac- 
companied the murderers in a military dress, put his 
foot on the neck of the corpse, and, with the point of his 
sword drawing out the brains from the severed crown, 
scattered them on the pavement. " Let us be off, com- 
rades," he cried ; " this traitor will never rise again." 6 

The murderers rushed out of the church, shouting, 
"King's soldiers! King's men!" a cry which they had 
repeatedly used in the course of the day, and which is 

* Gamier, 150. 

b Fitzst., 203. See p. 254, note d . 
William, saysFitzsteplien, "grieved 
inconsolably " for the thwarting of 
his love. 

c Gamier, 151 ; Grim, 77. 

d Gamier, 146. See Appendix 

e Gamier, 151; Grim, 78; Fitzst. 
303 ; Roger, 168. 

A.D. 1170. 



said to have been customary on a battlefield after a 
victory. 21 On the way to the palace they found a French 
servant of the Archdeacon of Sens lamenting the Arch- 
bishop, and cruelly wounded him as they passed. 15 They 
hastily searched the palace, breaking open desks, presses, 
chests, and other repositories, and carrying off plate, 
money, jewels, vestments, and other valuable articles c 
a plunder which the biographers compare to the act of 
those who cast lots for the Saviour's vesture, and en- 
deavour to prove the worse of the two. d Two cilices 
which were found were thrown away as worthless ; yet 
it is said that this evidence of the Archbishop's concealed 
mortifications produced a feeling of awe in the murderers, 
and that many of their followers exclaimed, " Certainly 
this was a righteous man !" e 

All documents which seemed to be important were 

a Gervase, 1416. " Insigne re- 
gium conclamantes " (Grim, 79). 
" Sicut in prselio fieri solet, in in- 
signia victoriae signum conclama- 
bant, Regales milites, regales ! " 
(Bened., 67). It was the English 
war-cry, as " Montjoye " was the 
French. (Matt. Paris, ap. Ducange, 
s. v. p. 660.) " Tracy, in a confes- 
sion made long afterwards to Bar- 
tholomew, Bishop of Exeter, said 
that their spirits, which had before 
been raised to the highest pitch of 
excitement, gave way when the 
deed was perpetrated, and that 
they retired with trembling steps, 
expecting the earth to open and 
swallow them up (Herb., 351). 
Such, however, was not their out- 
ward demeanour, as it was recol- 

lected by the monks of the place." 
Stanley, 79. 

b Fitzst., 305. 

c Among other things : 

" Sun bon cultel, qui ualeit une cit, 

* * * * 

E tuz ses beaubelez qu'il aveit fait 


E qu'il ne uoleit pas a tutes genz 

Gamier, 152, who is very parti- 
cular on this part of the story. I 
do not know the meaning of " une 
cit," but Mr. Morris's explanation 
" a knife that was worth a city's 
ransom" (333) is clearly absurd. 

d " Licet eos quodammodo prae- 
cedant in scelere." Joh. Sarisb., 
ii. 256, ed. Giles. 

e Herb., 352. 


given to Kanulf de Broc for transmission to the King 
that thus the church of Canterbury might be deprived of 
any privileges inconsistent with the royal will ; a and the 
spoliation was completed by carrying off the most 
valuable horses which were found in the stablest On 
these the murderers made their way back to Saltwood for 
the night, leaving Robert de Broc in possession of the 

Amid the general consternation the Archbishop's body 
lay for a time entirely neglected, until his chamberlain 
Osbert procured a light and found it lying on the pave- 
ment. Osbert bound up the head with a piece of his 
own shirt ; and, when the murderers were gone, a multi- 
tude of people flocked into the cathedral and gathered 
round the corpse, kissing the hands and feet, smearing 
their eyes with the blood, dipping their garments in it, 
and each endeavouring to secure some relic of the saint. 6 
" His pall and outer pelisse," says Benedict, " stained as 
they were with his blood, were, with a somewhat incon- 
siderate piety, bestowed on the poor, for the good of his 
soul ; and happy would the receivers have been had they 
not forthwith thoughtlessly sold them, preferring the 
little money which they fetched." d 

After a time the monks turned out the crowd and shut 
the doors of the cathedral. The scattered brains were 
carefully collected into a basin, and benches were set 
around the place of the martyrdom, in order to protect 
it from being trodden on. e On raising the body, a 

a Bened., 68. 
b Fitzst., 308. 
c Roger, 168; Fitzst., 308; 

Herb., 357. 
d ii. 69. 
e Fitzst., 309. 

A.D. 1170. 



hammer and the axe which Fitzurse had thrown down 
were found below it a circumstance from which Bene- 
dict extracts a mystical allusion to the saint's efficiency 
as a " hammer of evil doers." a The corpse was placed in 
front of the high altar, and the monks spent the night in 
watching around it with sorrow and anxiety. Then it 
was that the aged Kobert of Merton, the instructor of 
Becket's early years, who, ever since his consecration, 
had been his confessor and inseparable companion, thrust 
his hand into the bosom and drew out the shirt of hair 
which had been worn in secret. The monks lifted up 
their voices in admiration of this proof of a sanctity 
beyond what they had suspected, and which many of 
them had until then been disposed to doubt ; and already 
they bestowed on the " martyr " the title of Saint? 

In the morning an armed force appeared in the neigh- 
bourhood of the city. Kobert de Broc, in the name of 
his brother Kanulf, threatened that the body should be 
exposed to indignities unless it were buried at once and 
without ceremony ; and he forbade the publication of the 
miracles by which it had already begun to be distin- 
guished. The monks in haste proceeded to the funeral 
rites. Although some were of opinion that a body which 
had so long been purified by fasting and discipline 
required no further cleansing than that of its own blood, 
they proceeded to strip it for the customary ablution : d 

a 68. 

b Fitzst., 308 ; Herb., 360. 
c Job. Sar., ii. 256, ed. Giles; 
Gamier, 154-5. 

d Bened.,69; Fitzst, 309; Herb., 

350. One writer says that the 
body was washed ; another, that it 
was not. Diceto suggests the 
middle statement in the text, 




and in so doing they discovered fresh evidences of holi- 
ness ; for not only was the shirt made of hair, but the 
tight and galling drawers also a mortification, it is said, 
without example among English saints ; a and these gar- 
ments were filled with innumerable vermin, " so that any 
one," says Grim, " would think that the martyrdom of 
the preceding day was less grievous than that which these 
small enemies continually inflicted." b And thus, on the 
day after his murder, the body of Archbishop Thomas 
was buried by the Cistercian abbot of Boxley, before the 
altars of St. John and St. Augustine in the crypt of his 

a Joh. Sarisb., ii. 257, ed. Giles ; 
Bened., ii. 70. As to the other 
clothes, see Gervase, 1673; Gar- 
nier, 155 ; Grim, 82 ; Fitzst., 309. 

b 82. See above, p. 50; and 
comp. Anon. Lamb., 126. 

c Joh. Sarisb., ii. 257, ed. Giles. 

( 287 ) 



IN the times which we are now required to venerate as 
"The Ages of Faith," the murder of a prelate was 
nothing very uncommon. Thus in the year 1082, 
Walcher, a native of Lorraine, and Bishop of Durham, 
was murdered by his rebellious flock. a In 1113, Waldric, 
Bishop of Laon, one of Becket's predecessors in the 
Chancellorship of England, was slain by the populace 
of his city ; his head was cleft with an axe, the finger 
adorned by the episcopal ring was hewn off, his lifeless 
body was covered with wounds, stripped naked, and 
exposed to innumerable insults, and lay unburied, like 
that of a dog, until the " scholastic " of his cathedral, 
the famous teacher Anselm, b charitably committed it to 
the ground, but without venturing to solemnize the 
burial by any religious office. In 1145, Pope Lucius II. 

a Will. Malmesb., c. 271, in Pa- 
trol., clxxix. 1250. 

b Anselm of Laon, a pupil of 
his namesake the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, is, perhaps, most 
known by his connexion with the 
history of Abelard. He had been 
alone in opposing the election of 
Waldric to the bishopric. See 
Guibert. Novig. de Vita sua, iii. 

4 (in Patrol, clvi.) 

c Ib., 8-10. In consequence of 
an erroneous reading in the old 
edition of Orderic Landavensis 
instead of Laudunensis Dr. Lin- 
gard (ii. 14) and others have 
supposed Waldric to have been 
Bishop of Llandaff. See n. on 
Orderic, in Patrol, clxxxviii. 815. 


was killed in attempting to dislodge the republican 
faction of Eome from the Capitol. In 1160, Arnold, 
Archbishop of Mentz, Primate of Germany, and Chan- 
cellor of the empire, was murdered by a mob, and the 
indignities offered to his corpse were even more revolt- 
ing than those which had been inflicted on Waldric. a 
And in some chronicles of the time b the next event 
which is recorded after the murder of Becket is that of 
an Archbishop of Tarragona. Yet these and many 
other such cases have long passed away from the memory 
of men, nor, even in their own day, did they excite any 
wide-spread interest or emotion. 

But the shock of Becket' s death thrilled at once 
through Latin Christendom, and to this day the murder, 
under whatever colouring it may be represented, remains 
among the most conspicuous facts in history. Through- 
out his contest with Henry, the eyes of all men had 
been fixed on him; and while, in his own country, 
opinions were divided as to the merits of his cause and 
of his conduct, the sympathy with him elsewhere 
(except, indeed, among the Imperialist and Antipapal 
party, and among the Cardinals who were won by 
Henry's gold) was enthusiastic and universal. Nothing 
was known of the question as to the immunity of criminal 
clerks ; the assertion by which the Archbishop's par- 
tisans endeavoured to veil the real nature of the quarrel 
that Henry meditated an entire usurpation of ecclesi- 
astical power was not only believed as a suspicion, but 

Chron. Mogunt. ap. Urstis. i. 571 ; Kaumer, Gesch. der Hohen- 
staufen, ii. 176-7. b E. g., Diceto, 556. 



was supposed to have been already realised in act. a 
And the feeling of sympathy was powerfully aided by 
political enmity against Henry. Princes who had them- 
selves been seriously embroiled with the hierarchy who 
had bestowed sees in contempt of the right of election, 
who had seized ecclesiastical property, had driven bishops 
into banishment, and incurred the heavy censures of the 
Church were ready to support the champion of the 
most extravagant hierarchical pretensions in opposition 
to a brother sovereign whom they dreaded and envied as 
the richest and strongest potentate in Europe. b Nor, in 
accounting for the favour which Becket found among 
the inferior classes of his own countrymen, must we 
overlook the operation of similar motives. Fanciful as 
the theory is which would explain his whole history as 
a struggle between a dominant and a subjugated race, 
there can yet be no doubt that discontent with the 
government, the sense of oppression, the pains of distress, 
and other such causes must have disposed multitudes to 

a See p. 142. So the Chronicle 
of Melrose says (A.D. 1164) that 
Thomas fled from England, "ob 
intolerabiles ecclesise a rege illa- 
tas injurias ;" and one of the con- 
tinuers of Sigebert of Gemblours, 
" Heinricus, supra quod dicitur 
Deus aut quod colitur efferatus et 
in superbiam elatus, .... contra 
jus et fas omnem dignitatem et ec- 
clesiasticae discipline censuram 
violenter sibi usurpat." (Patrol., 
clx. 382.) The strength of the 
prejudice which was felt in 

France against Henry is thus ex- 
pressed by John of Salisbury, in 
a letter of 1167 : " Nihil adeo im- 
pium est in Deum, in homines in- 
humanum, quod Franci et Latini 
de eo facilius non credant." (Ep. 

b See Louis' speech to Mapes, 
p. 140, n. b ; and the extract given 
in the same note from a letter of 
John of Salisbury to Becket, writ- 
ten soon after John's going abroad 
in 1163. 





follow any one who, whether in the name of the Church 
or otherwise, rose up in opposition to the King. 

The violent end of a man who had for years been so 
conspicuous, and in whose behalf so much of feeling had 
been enlisted, could not but excite universal horror and 
indignation. It was described as the blackest deed since 
the Crucifixion nay, as even worse than that awful 
crime, inasmuch as it had been perpetrated, not by 
Jews or heathens, but by persons professing the Christian 
faith. a The circumstances of it were dwelt on as height- 
ening its atrocity, and for the same purpose exaggeration 
and misrepresentation were largely employed. The 
Archbishop, it was said, had been murdered in violation 
of the sanctity of a church his own cathedral, the 
mother Church of all England, a place hallowed by the 
possession of innumerable precious relics.^ The sword of 
a murderer had cut off the crown which was consecrated 
by the priestly unction and tonsure. The accursed act 
had been committed within the season dedicated to the 
Saviour's birth, with its message of " peace on earth ;" 
the blood of the innocent had been shed on the morrow 
of those holy Innocents who glorified God by their 
martyrdom in infancy. As the real ground of his 
contest with the King had throughout been put out of 
sight, so now it was forgotten that the immediate cause 
for which he fell was but a quarrel as to the privileges 
of Canterbury and York, d and he was represented as 

a Grim, 78. 

b Chron. Mailros. A.B. 1171. 
c Ib., 79 ; Wendover, ii. 363. 
d " HSQC fuit vera et unica causa 

aut occasio necis S. Thomse," says 
Goussainville, n. on Pet. Bles., 
Ep. 22. 



having died in the great cause of the Church. His 
murder the act of men who had of themselves under- 
taken their enterprise in consequence of some passionate 
words, and whose intention, seemingly, was nothing 
more than to arrest the Archbishop, until his defiant 
behaviour and intolerable language excited them to un- 
controllable fury was assumed to have been expressly 
authorized by the King with whom he had so long con- 
tended. a All that was violent in his closing scene was 
unmentioned ; b the saint was believed to have meekly met 
his death while engaged in devotion at the altar ; c nor,, 
it was said, could any martyrdom be found which so- 
closely resembled the Saviour's passion . d 

Immediately after the murder, miracles began. A 
violent storm of thunder and lightning raged, floods of 
rain descended, and when these cleared off, the sky was 
overspread by a redness probably an aurora borealis e 
which was interpreted as signifying the wrath and the 
vengeance of heaven on account of the blood which had 
been shed. f As the monks were watching around the 
bier, before the high altar, it is said that the martyr 

* Helinand (Patrol, ccxii. 1070) 
attributes the murder to Henry's 
refusal of the pax. (See pp. 248-9.) 
Chron. Mailros. A.D. 1171. "A 
domesticis et sceleratissimis ba- 
ronibus et detestandis militibus 
regis .... sseviente regis ira, et 
longe magis dissinrili et scelera- 
tiore modo quam Herodis in Je- 
sum, vel secundi in Johannem Bap- 
tistam," &c. ; and the writer prays 
for vengeance on all concerned in 
the murder. Chron. Aquicinct. 

(i. e., of the monastery of Anchin, 
near Douay). " Henricus rex pro 
interfectione D. Thomse ab omni- 
bus, ut apostata vilissimus, exosus 
habetur." A.D. 1171. (Patrol, clx.) 

b See, e. g., Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 304, 
and an anonymous letter to the 
Pope,inFoliot, Ep. 500. Cf. Ger- 
vas., 1417. 

c See Append. XXIX. 

d Bened., ii. 71. 

e Stanley, 83. f Fitzst., 304. 

u 2 




lifted up his right hand, in the dim light of daybreak, 
and gave the pastoral benediction. 41 The blind and the 
lame, the deaf, the dumb, the palsied, the sick of every 
kind, were cured at the grave where his remains were 
laid ; even members which had been cut off were re- 
stored by his miraculous power ; b and the prohibition 
to publish these wonders served only to add to their 
fame. The martyrdom was revealed on the same day 
to the saintly hermit Godric, at Finchal, in Durham ; c 
and at Jerusalem a holy monk, who had died on that 
day, soon after appeared to the abbot of his house, and 
.assured him that not only was Thomas martyred, but 
that he had been raised to a degree of heavenly glory 
gqual with that of St. Peter himseE d Other visions 
also attested his glory and the power of his merits. To 
Herbert of Bosham he appeared in a dream, and ex- 
pressed regret that his faithful follower had not been 
present at the martyrdom. " My Lord," said Herbert, 
" I am a sinful man, and, if I had been slain, I should 
have .perished." " No," replied the saint, " for thou 
wouldest have been baptized in my blood." e And to a 
monk of his cathedral, named Thomas, he declared " I 

a Hoveden, 299. This miracle 
is mentioned in Hoveden's ver- 
sion of the first letter written by 
William of Sens to the Pope after 
the murder (ib. 300) ; but the pas- 
sage seems to be an interpolation. 
(See Brial, 467.) Another account 
represents the whole body as hav- 
ing raised itself up. S. T. C., ii. 

b Grim, 80; Fitzst, 311; Job. 

Sarisb., ii. 255, ed. Giles ; Gervas., 
1297, 1417. 

c Hoved., 299. That Godric had 
been dead some months before 
(Wendover, ii. 341 ; Pagi, in Baron, 
xix. 363) is a circumstance of no 
importance in such a story. 

d Herb., vii. 354 ; cf. Bob. 
Glouc., 118. 

e Herb., vii. 341. 

A.B. 1171. 



have done so much, that the names of my monks, and 
of the clerks who are connected with them, are written 
in the book of life." a Soon after the murder, John of 
Salisbury is found writing to ask the Bishop of Poitiers 
whether, since God had so amply warranted for Thomas 
the character of a martyr by miracles, it were lawful to 
venerate him as such without waiting for the formal 
authorization of the Pope. b 

Both among the friends and among the enemies of 
Henry the tidings of the murder excited the strongest 
sensation. The monks of Grammont, who were bound 
to him by especial favours, heard with dismay that the 
patron who had founded churches for them had violated 
the sanctity of the church of Canterbury ; they strove 
to disbelieve the guilt which the highest members of 
the French hierarchy confidently imputed to him. The 
Abbot of Grammont suspended the building of the 
abbey-church, which was proceeding at Henry's ex- 
pense, until the truth of the matter should be ascer- 
tained ; and Bernard de la, Coudre, the Grandimontan 
who had been employed in one of the papal commis- 
sions, addressed to the King a letter of sorrowful re- 
proof and admonition. " You promised," he says, " to 
give the Archbishop the second platce in your kingdom, 

a Gervas., 1418. 

b Ep. 304, fin. It was in the 
very year of Becket's death that 
Alexander III. had declared, "Al- 
though miracles be done by one, 
it is not lawful to reverence him 
as a saint without the sanction of 

the Koman Church." (Alex. ap. 
Gregor. IX., Decretal, xlv. i.) John 
of Salisbury would seem not to 
have been aware of this decree, 
the first by which canonization 
was exclusively reserved to the 



provided only that lie would show you an appearance of 
humility before your people. He has done a hundred 
times what you required, and he lies in the heart of the 
earth ! " Bernard tells the King, that if the murderers 
were sent by him, he too was a partaker in their crime, 
but expresses a belief that he was incapable of designing 
so foul a deed ; and he concludes by exhorting Henry 
to repentance, and by assuring him that the Order of 
Grammont is awaiting the change with prayers and 
groaning, in sackcloth and ashes. a 

On the other hand, Henry's enemies were eager to 
take advantage of the occasion by clamouring for ven- 
geance against him. Alexander the Welshman and 
Gunther the Fleming, whom Becket had despatched to 
the Pope on St. John the Evangelist's Day, were over- 
taken at Sens by the report of their master's death, and 
they carried onwards a letter from Archbishop William, 
which is the earliest in date of all the extant narratives. 
In this, and in another letter which followed, the Arch- 
bishop, without hesitation, attributes the murder to the 
" tyrant " of England, whom he declares to be worse 
than Ahab, Nero, and Herod, than the apostate Julian, 
and the traitor Judas. He charges as accomplices the 
"arch-devil" Roger of York, Avith the "apostate and 
pretended " Bishops of London and Salisbury ; he relates 
the story of the murder with the exaggerations on one 
side and the suppressions on the other which have been 
already mentioned ; and he exhorts the Pope to rouse 

Brial, 470-5. 


himself as a "son of the shaken out;" a to deal like 
another Elias with the guiltier than Ahab. b Theobald, 
Count of Blois and nephew of King Stephen, also caught 
eagerly at the opportunity of gratifying the enmity which 
he habitually concealed under a pretence of regard for 
Henry. c " The innocent lamb," he wrote to the Pope, 
" has suffered martyrdom on the morrow of the 
Holy Innocents. His righteous blood has been shed 
where the viaticum of our salvation wac wont to be 
offered. The dogs of the Court, the familiars and 
domestics of the King of England, have acted as his 
instruments. , . . . To you the blood of the righteous 
man and martyr of God cries, and demands revenge. 
May the Almighty and merciful God put into your heart 
the will, and suggest the means, of a vengeance ade- 
quate to the crime ! " d And to the same purpose King 
Louis addressed Alexander, desiring that the sword of 
Peter might be unsheathed in behalf of the martyr of 
Canterbury, whose blood required vengeance, not so 
much for himself as for the universal Church. 6 

The famous saying, " It was worse than a crime it 
was a blunder," conveys, under the form of bitter irony 
and sarcasm, the truth that a great public crime may 
be even more impolitic than wicked ; and if ever the 
words were applicable in this sense, they might have 
been applied to the part which Henry was supposed to 
have taken in the death of Becket. Since the recon- 

* See Appendix XVI. 

b Epp. 830-1. 

Bened. Petrib.; Vita Henr. II., 

ed. Hearne. 
d Ep. 356. 

c Fol., Ep. 503. 


ciliation, each of the parties had beset the Pope with 
complaints against the other. While the Archbishop 
represented that his possessions had not been restored 
to him, and on the very day of the murder a letter was 
addressed by Alexander to Henry, urging the fulfilment 
of the treaty in this and other respects,* the King alleged 
that the Papal commissioners had not carried out their 
promise as to the absolution of those who were before 
excommunicate, and that the Archbishop had violated 
the agreement by inflicting fresh censures on the 
Bishops of London and Salisbury. b But the tidings of 
the murder overwhelmed all other subjects. Henry 
could not but feel the prodigious difficulties into which 
he was plunged by the rash and violent act of his 
courtiers. He knew that the guilt would be universally 
charged on him, and that his enemies were now armed 
with a fearful weapon against him. He foresaw the 
eagerness with which they would take advantage of it ; 
that the highest censures of the Church, with their 
terrible secular consequences, were inevitable, that his 
long struggle with the hierarchy must end in utter 
defeat, unless he could purge himself of the crime and 
propitiate the Koman Court. On receiving the news at 
Argentan, he burst forth into lamentations over the 
Archbishop's death as the most grievous calamity which 
could have befallen him ; for three days he shut himself 
up in his chamber without tasting food, and for forty 

Ap. Thorn., Ep. 308. The date is taken from Jaffe. 
b Ap. Fol., Epp. 490-1. 

A.D. 1171. 



days he remained in penitential seclusion, abstaining 
from all public business. 31 Even as to the murderers he 
knew not what to do. To leave them unpunished 
would countenance the rumours which charged him 
with having instigated their crime ; to punish his sup- 
posed instruments would not dissipate the suspicions, but 
would be regarded as a further and detestable wicked- 
ness^ In these circumstances, speedy action was neces- 
sary in order to counteract the general obloquy. He 
therefore sent some clerks to Canterbury for the pur- 
pose of explaining that, although the murderers had 
undertaken their expedition in consequence of words 
which had escaped him in his excitement, he was inno- 
cent of having authorised them, and had endeavoured to 
prevent the execution of their suspected design ; c and 
he despatched to Italy an embassy, consisting of the 
Archbishop of Kouen (who, however, was obliged by 
age and infirmity to turn back), with the Bishops of 
Worcester and Evreux and other ecclesiastics. These 
envoys were charged with a letter, in which the King 
protested that he had fulfilled his part of the treaty; 
that Becket had broken it by stirring up his subjects 
against him and groundlessly excommunicating his 
servants ; that he deeply regretted the murder and the 
share which his own angry words might have had in 
suggesting it ; but that he was less distressed as to his 
conscience than as to his reputation. d 

Arnulf, Ep. 55 ; Herb., viii. 
34 ; Quadril. II., in S. T. C., 201, 

b W. Neubrig. ii. 25, p. 157. 

They were left to ecclesiastical 
penance. See above, p. 82. 

c S. T. C., ii. 202. 

d Patrol., cc. 1388 ; HovecU 301. 



At the time when the news of the murder reached 
the Papal Court at Tusculum, some envoys from the 
King of England were there for the purpose of soliciting 
the absolution of the bishops, and it appeared as if, by 
the expenditure of five hundred marks, they had se- 
cured the object of their mission. But the arrival of 
the dreadful tidings suddenly interrupted the negotia- 
tion. For eight days the Pope secluded himself even 
from his usual companions, and in remorse (it is said) 
for the slackness with which he had supported the 
Church's champion, devoted himself to fasting and 
prayer. a Yet, although this remorse may have been 
sincere, a man so sagacious as Alexander cannot have 
failed to discern the immense advantage which he 
might derive from the crime of Fitzurse and his ac- 
complices. A restless, importunate, querulous ally, 
whose objects were far from coinciding with his own, 
from whose reckless impetuosity he had always reason 
to dread some outbreak which might destroy his own 
finer and more widely-reaching policy, was now at 
once changed into a martyr and a saint. The death of 
Thomas of Canterbury gave lustre to the cause which 
he had espoused in the division of the Papacy, and at 
once it was argued that his miracles confirmed it by 
the testimony of heaven. b His friends were exalted, his 
adversaries were covered with confusion. The Pope 
had only to boast of him, to identify the enemies of 

a Fol., Ep. 469 ; Gervas., .1419 ; Vita Alex, in Patrol, cc. 37. 
b Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 306. 


Thomas with his own, to use the unexpected strength 
which had thus accrued to his cause. 

In the first excitement produced by the report of the 
Archbishop's end, the negotiations with Henry's envoys 
were broken off, and it was ordered that no one from 
England should be admitted to the Pope's presence.* 
Richard Barre, who had been sent forward by the 
ambassadors despatched after the murder, was unable, 
on reaching Tusculurn, to obtain an audience, and 
found no one to show him countenance or favour. 
The Abbot of Wallasey and others, who followed some- 
what later, having with difficulty escaped from the 
robber soldiery by whom the main roads were beset, were 
received on their arrival by some cardinals, but with an 
ominous coldness of looks and scantiness of words. The 
King's emissaries were zealously opposed at the court by 
Alexander Llewellyn and Gunther ; b and it was said that 
on Maunday Thursday, a day on which anathemas and 
absolutions were usually pronounced, the Pope would ex- 
communicate the King of England by name, would con- 
firm the late Primate's sentences, and would interdict all 
Henry's dominions. By great urgency the Abbot of 
Wallasey and the Archdeacon of Lisieux obtained an 
audience ; but, immediately on uttering their Sovereign's 
name, they were silenced by a general exclamation of 
" Forbear ! forbear !" as if the Pope could not even endure 
to hear it. At length, however, by the application of the 
means which were usually most effectual in the Roman 
Court, the ambassadors procured admittance to Alex- 

Pol., Ep. 469. b S. T. C., vi. 200. 




ander's presence, where they swore that the King was 
innocent of all concern in the murder, and that he 
would abide the papal judgment. A similar oath was 
taken by some clerks on the part of the Archbishop of 
York and of the Bishops of London and Salisbury ; and 
the curses of Maunday Thursday, on which this inter- 
view took place, were limited to the actual perpetrators 
of the deed, with their advisers and abettors.* 

It was not until after Easter that the most dignified 
members of the mission, the Bishops of Worcester and 
Evreux, arrived ; and, after having been detained for 
more than a fortnight, they were dismissed with an 
answer less favourable than they had expected. The 
Archbishop of Sens, who, in conjunction with the Arch- 
bishop of Kouen, had been authorised to interdict Henry's 
continental dominions if the King should refuse to satisfy 
Becket's demands, 15 had proceeded, on hearing of the 
murder, to pronounce the sentence, in defiance 
of his colleague's remonstrances, as either of 
the commissioners was empowered to act in case of the 
other's unwillingness ; and, although Kotrou publicly 
declared his disapproval of this step, on the ground that 
Henry offered to satisfy justice, the Pope confirmed the 
interdict/ as well as the excommunication and suspen- 
sion of the English bishops, and ordered that the King 
should refrain from entering a church. Two cardinals 
were to be sent into Normandy for the purpose of inquiry, 

a Fol., Epp. 440, 469 ; Diceto, 
556 ; Gervas., 469. 

b Alex. ap. Thorn., Ep. 263. 
See above, p. 251. 

c Brial, 477 ; Will. Senon., ap. 

Thorn., Ep. 331. 

d Alex, ad Archiep. Turon., Ep. 
790, May 14 (Patrol, cc.) ; Fol., 
Ep. 469 ; Bromton, 1066. 

A.D. 1171. EMBASSY TO THE POPE. 301 

and all that the English ambassadors were able to obtain, 
by a large expenditure of money, was a permission that, 
if the legates delayed their journey, the Bishops of Lon- 
don and Salisbury should be absolved from excommu- 
nication, although they were still to remain suspended.* 
By virtue of this, Foliot was released from his excommu- 
nication in the beginning of August. b Koger of York 
was absolved from his suspension on St. Nicholas' day 
(Dec. 6), on swearing that he had not received the Pope's 
letter prohibiting the coronation, that he had not bound 
himself to the Constitutions, and that he had in no way 
contributed to the death of Becket ; c and in May, 1172, 
Foliot, on taking a similar oath, was restored to the full 
rights of his episcopate/ 

Henry, without waiting for the arrival of the Pope's 
legates in Normandy, crossed over into England in the 
month of August, and landed at Southampton. At 
Winchester he visited the Bishop, Henry, who was then 
on his deathbed, and it is said that the old man reproved 
him severely for his concern in the murder of Becket, 
and foretold that he would suffer many calamities in 
expiation of it. e After having renewed his measures of 
precaution against the introduction of dangerous docu- 
ments into England/ the King passed into Ireland, 
where he spent the winter in endeavouring to secure for 
his crown the completion of the conquest which had been 

a Fol., Ep. 469 ; Alex. ib. Ep. 


b Diceto, 557. 

c Ib. 557, Alex. ap. Thorn., Ep. 
259. Eoger's letter on his absolu- 
tion (Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 307) is j 

characteristic and curious. 

d Diceto, 560. 

e Ib., 557. 

f Bromton, 1069. See Herb., 
Epp. 34, 39. 


undertaken by English adventurers. For twenty weeks 
all communication with England or the continent was 
cut off it was said, by the violence of the winds ; a but 
it has been suspected that Henry's dread of papal cen- 
sures was not without influence in producing this sus- 
pension of intercourse. 15 At length, on being informed 
that the cardinals had arrived in Normandy, he embarked 
at Cork on Easter-day, and, after a hurried journey from 
Milford Haven to Portsmouth, appeared in Normandy 
with a suddenness which made King Louis exclaim that 
his brother of England flew rather than travelled on 
horseback or on shipboard. After several interviews 
with the legates, Albert of St. Laurence in Lucina 
(afterwards Pope Gregory VIII.), and Theotwin of St. 
Vitalis, terms of peace with the Church were concluded 
at Avranches on Sunday, the 21st of May. The King 
of his own accord, as the legates report d swore on 
the Gospels that he had neither devised, nor authorised, 
nor been privy to, the murder of Becket ; but that the 
tidings of it afflicted him as if it had been the death of 
his own son. As, however, he admitted that his words 
might have given occasion for the crime, he promised to 
maintain for a year two hundred knights for the defence 
of the Holy Land; to serve for three years against 
the infidels, either .in the East or in Spain, unless 
excused by the Pope ; e to allow appeals to Kome a con- 

Diceto, 559. 

Lingard, ii. 192. 

Diceto, 560 ; Bromton, 1079. 

vi. 123. 

from the crusade by promising to 
found monasteries. How he con- 
trived to do this without putting 
himself to costs, see Girald. Cainbr. 

e He was afterwards excused de Instit. Principum. 

A.D. 1172. 



cession, however, which was clogged with conditions 
which greatly affected its value ; a to give up all such 
customs prejudicial to the Church as had been intro- 
duced in his own time a clause which virtually left 
open the question which had been so long and so vio- 
lently agitated ; b to restore the possessions of the Church 
of Canterbury as they had been a year before the late 
Primate's exile ; to receive into favour and to reinstate 
in their property all who had suffered for adherence to 
Becket. The younger Henry joined in such of these 
engagements as were not personal to his father ; and 
both father and son swore never to forsake Alexander 
or his successors so long as these should acknowledge 
them as Catholic Kings. On these terms Henry was 
absolved, to the great dissatisfaction of his enemies, who 
considered that he had been too leniently dealt with. 

See Planck, IV., i. 424. 

b Lingard, ii. 192. 

= Fol., Epp. 385, 387-8 ; Diceto, 
560 ; Bromton, 1081 ; Bened. Vita 
Henr., ed. Hearne, 34-6. In the 
oath, as given by Alexander's bio- 
grapher (Patrol., cc. 38), the last 
clause runs thus : " Juramus 
quod a domino Alexandra papa, 
et ejus Catholicis successoribus, 
recipiemus et tenebimus regnum 
Anglise, et nos et nostri succes- 
sores in perpetuum non repu- 
tabimus nos Anglise reges veros, 
donee ipsi nos Catholicos reges te- 
nuerint." Hence Dr. Lingard in- 
fers that the kings took an oath of 
feudal subjection to the Pope ; 
and, as the clause does not appear 

so in any of the letters written on 
the occasion, he supposes that it 
was one of the things which the 
legates say that Henry promised 
" de libera voluntate gerenda, quae 
non oportet scripturse serie deno- 
tare." (S. T. C., vi. 124 ; Ling., 
ii. 191.) Even if the words were 
genuine, it might be argued (with 
Dr. Pauli, iii. 103) that they relate 
not to feudal subjection, but to the 
question of Pope and Antipope. 
But the truth seems to be, as 
Gieseler suggests (II., ii. 93), that 
they were part of the papal draft 
only, and that, in the oath actually 
taken, the simple promise of ad- 
hesion to Alexander was substi- 




King Louis was so indignant with the legates on this 
account, that he refused them permission to spend the 
winter in France. a 

The displays of Becket's miraculous power became 
continually more remarkable. " At first." says Gervase, 
" miracles were done around his tomb, then through the 
whole of the crypt, then through the whole cathedral, 
then throughout all Canterbury, then throughout all 
England, then throughout Normandy, France, Germany, 
and, in short, through the whole Church of Christ which 
is spread throughout the world. And, that he might 
the more fully confirm, by renewing them, the ancient 
miracles of the saints, which had in some measure been 
blotted out from men's hearts through unbelief, he at 
first, as if by way of prelude, began with moderate 
miracles, and so, ascending by little and little, as the 
fame of his sanctity increased, he arrived at the highest, 
and in a short time ran through all the wonderful deeds 
of the Gospel and of the Apostles. Thus, as a good 
householder, did he bring forth from his good treasure 
things new and old for almost all who piously desired 
them, working new things in our eyes, and by this new- 
ness also confirming the old things." b All the super- 
stitions which in the middle ages were connected with 
reverence for the saints gathered around this new hero. 
Herbert, shortly after the murder, mentions that a late 
member of the Archbishop's household, " a man who is 

a Chron. Aquicinct., A.D. 1172. 
(Patrol, clx.) See Pet. Bles., 
Patrol., cvii. 203. 

b Gerv., 1297. Wendover says 

that not only men and women, 
" sed etiam aves et animalia," were 
restored to life by his power (ii. 

A.D. 1174. PENANCE OF HENEY. 305 

certainly the dwelling-place of sin and of all lying and 
craftiness," was making a trade of exhibiting through 
France some pretended relics of the martyr ; a and pil- 
grims from all quarters and of every rank flocked to 
Canterbury, enriching the Church with their gifts. In 
the beginning of Lent, 1173, the Pope, at the request of 
the French clergy and people, pronounced the canoni- 
zation of St. Thomas, and ordered that the day of his 
death should be celebrated as his festival. b 

Those who had opposed him in his life found them- 
selves obliged to give way to the general feeling : they 
celebrated his sanctity and miracles, founded churches 
in his honour, and joined the throngs which crowded to 
his shrine. d Among all these pilgrimages the most me- 
morable was that which Henry himself performed in 
July, 1174. Like the fourth Henry of Germany, the 
King had found that his sons were armed against him 
under the pretence of religion. " Such as he had been 
towards his spiritual father," says a writer of the oppo- 
site party, " such he found his sons after the flesh to be 
towards himself." e Supported by the King of France 
and by other potentates whose political enmity against 
Henry had before allied them with the hierarchy, the 
eldest prince the same whose coronation had given rise 

a Herb., Ep. 34. See Petr. 
Cellens., Ep. 150. 

b Alex., Epp. 1021, 1023-5 ; Vita 
Alex., 38 (Patrol, cc.). 

c Tims R. de Luci dedicated 
Lesnes Abbey to St. Thomas ; and 
see Job. Sarisb., Ep. 314, as to 

Richard of Hchester. 

d Vita Alex., 38. 

e Girald. de Inst. Princ., 39. 
The rebellion of the King's sons 
is said to have been revealed to 
Becket during his lifetime. (Herb., 
viii. 46.) 




to the final quarrel with Becket now professed himself 
the avenger of the martyr's death, which his father had 
neglected to punish, and the vindicator of the Church's 
liberties, which his father had violated.* In the ex- 
tremity of distress to which he was reduced by the 
rebellion of his sons, and the attacks of his other ene- 
mies, Henry, at the suggestion of his confessor, resolved 
to undertake a penitential pilgrimage to the shrine of 
St. Thomas the Martyr; and his reconciliation with 
heaven was believed to be shown by the coincidence that, 
on the same day when he prayed, fasted, watched, and 
submitted to flagellation at Canterbury, the fleet with 
which his son had intended to invade England was scat- 
tered by a tempest, and the King of Scots, who had 
advanced as far as Alnwick, was there defeated and taken 
prisoner. b " So," says Daniel, " ended this tedious busi- 
ness, that made more noise in the world than any that 
he had, and bowed him more : being his ill fortune to 
grapple with a man of that free resolution as made his 
sufferings his glory ; had his ambition beyond this world ; 
set up his rest not to yield to a King ; was only engaged 
to his cause ; had opinion and belief to take his part. 
Which so much prevailed, as the King, seeking to master 
him, advanced him ; and now he is fain to kneel and 

See his letter to the Pope, in 
pial, 643-8. 

For the details of Henry's pil- 

rimage, see Professor Stanley's 

' Memorials ;' Gamier, 159 ; Kob. 

de Monte, Patrol., clx. 520; Di- 

ceto, 576 ; Gaufrid. Vosiens. in 

Kec. des Hist., xii. 443 ; Herb. viii. 
44 ; Trivet, 78, &c. For the ac- 
count of his receiving the tidings 
from Alnwick, Jordan Fantosme, 
in Stevenson's Church Historians 
of England (iv. 286). 

A.I). 1174. PENANCE OF HENRY. 307 

pray to his shrine whom he had disgraced in his person ; 
and, having had him above his will whilst he lived, hath, 
him now over his faith, being dead." a 

Yet, although Henry might have seemed to be at the 
feet of the clergy, the victory was not wholly with them. 
He had professed, after his interview with Albert and 
Theotwin at Avranches, to grant the liberty of canonical 
election to bishoprics and abbacies ; b but while the form 
of an election was observed, he contrived to sway it in 
favour of his own nominees. If Becket had lived longer, 
a scheme which the King had formed for filling up the 
vacant sees by summoning six of the clergy from each, 
and compelling them to elect a bishop in his own pre- 
sence, would have produced a fresh dissension ; c but now, 
not only were the new bishops virtually appointed by 
the King, but among the first of them were the very 
persons who had been his most zealous and indefatigable 
agents in the late contest, the especial objects of the 
murdered Primate's denunciations. John of Oxford 
became Bishop of Norwich, Kichard of Ilchester Bishop 
of Winchester, d and Geoffrey Kidel Bishop of Ely ; and 
these three continued to be among the King's most con- 
fidential counsellors. 6 Keginald, Archdeacon of Salis- 

a The Collection of the Hist, 
of England, by S. D.' [The poet 
Daniel.] Lond. 1626. (The pas- 
sage in the original relates to the 
scene at Avranches.) " Illud quo- 
que noveritis," writes Peter of 
Blois to the Archbishop of Pa- 
lermo, " dominum regem glorio- 
sum martyrem in omnibus angustiis 

Ep. 66. 

b Fol.,. Ep. 489, 

c Job. Sarisb. r Ep. 300 ; Diceto, 

d John of Salisbury highly cries 
up Kichard. (Ep. 313-4-5.) 

e In 1179 they were appointed 
to administer the office of Chief 
Justiciary, which had become va- 

suis patronum liabere praecipuum," cant by the retirement of Richard 





bury, and son of the excommunicated Bishop of that 
see, was appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells, and even- 
tually became Archbishop of Canterbury.* Kobert 
Foliot, who succeeded Robert of Melun in Hereford, 
would seem to have been a relation of Gilbert of Lon- 
don, who was Henry's especial adviser as to the disposal 
of the vacant bishoprics. b Gerard la Pucelle, Bishop of 
Lichfield, and Hugh of Nunant, his successor in the 
see, were men who had forsaken the service of Becket 
for that of the King. c And the King's influence was 
further shown by the election of his natural son, 
Geoffrey Plantagenet, although under the canonical age, 
to the bishopric of Lincoln. d The younger Henry, in 
endeavouring to enlist the Pope on his side, complains 
that his father entrusted the flocks to the wolves who 
had devoured the good shepherd, and states that, as he 
was assured, the writs of election were in this form : 
" I charge you to hold a free election, yet I will not 
that you choose any other than my clerk Eichard, Arch- 
deacon of Poitiers/' Although the literal truth of this 

de Luci. The Pope remonstrated, 
on the ground that such office was 
against the canons, and must in- 
volve a neglect of their episcopal 
duties ; but Archbishop Richard 
pleaded with him that the ar- 
rangement might be suffered to 
continue, on account of the benefit 
which the Church might derive 
from their influence with the King. 
It does not appear whether the 
substitution of Kanulf de Glanvill 
as Chief Justiciary in the following 

year was in consequence of the 
Pope's complaint. See Patrol., 
cc. 1459 ; Trivet, A.D. 1176 ; Lin- 
gard, ii. 218 ; Foss, i. 177, 289. 

a Peter of Blois tries to vindicate 
Keginald from the charge of hav- 
ing opposed Becket (Ep. 45). 

b Diceto, 567. 

c Herb., vii. 364. As to Gerard, 
see Job, Sarisb., Ep. 239. 

d Pauli, 123. 

e Brial, 645. 


statement may be questioned,* the authority which 
Henry exercised over appointments, both to bishoprics 
and to abbacies, was really as absolute as it is here repre- 
sented ; b and throughout all his disagreements with his 
sons, the English bishops steadily adhered to him. c The 
question as to the Constitutions of Clarendon had not 
been decided beyond the vague and ambiguous promise 
of Henry that such of them as were bad or novel should 
be abolished. " Nevertheless," says Herbert, " some of 
them, which have been condemned by the Church, are 
still observed throughout the kingdom. Whether this 
be with the King's knowledge and approbation, let the 
King himself see to it ; God forbid that it should be so." d 
We have seen that the immunities of the clergy were 
found a bar to the punishment of the murderers of 
ecclesiastics ; and in consequence of this, Archbishop 
Kichard, the successor of Becket, wrote the letter 
already quoted, in which the argument, although in- 
tended only to secure the punishment of offences against 
the clergy, is equally strong against that exemption of 
criminal clergymen from secular jurisdiction which had 
been the foundation of Becket's cause. 6 It was probably 
in consequence of this that, in 1176, a council at West- 
minster, under the legate Hugh Petroleone, enacted 
that the murderer of a clerk, on conviction or con- 
fession before the King's justiciary, should undergo the 

* See Brial's note. 

b As to abbacies, see Diceto, 


c Bened. Petrib., ed. Hearne, i. 38. 
d viii. 40. 
e See p. 82. 




usual punishment for his crime, and, moreover, should 
forfeit his inheritance.* At the same time it was de- 
creed (although, as Henry tells the Pope, not without 
much opposition from the greatest and wisest men of 
the realm) that clergymen should not be subject to 
the secular courts except for offences against the forest 
laws, or on account of fees to which the duty of lay 
service was attached. 15 The indignation with which 
contemporary writers assail the legate for consenting 
to these exceptions, appears to show that they were of 
great practical importance ; c but, in any case, the prin- 
ciple of the immunity of ecclesiastics from all secular 
jurisdiction was abandoned, and the sanction of Borne 
was given to decrees which Becket would have de- 
nounced as intolerable and impious. 

a Diceto, 592. 

b Ib. 

c " Ecce membrum Sathanse ! 
ecce ipsius Sathanae conductus 
satelles ! qui, tarn subito factus 
de pastore raptor, videns lupum 
yenientem fugit, et dimisit oves sibi 
a summo pontifice commissas, pro 
guarum tutamine missus erat a 

Romanasede in Angliam." (Bened., 
ed. Hearne, i. 128 ; cf. Diceto, 591 ; 
Bromton, 1107.) The delicacy 
with which Dr. Lingard treats this 
matter (ii. 1934) is amusing. Peter 
of Blois tells Archbishop Richard 
that people blamed him for sur- 
rendering what the martyr had pur- 
chased with his blood. (Ep. 5.) 

( 311 ) 



IN Becket's own time, it was disputed whether he ought 
to be regarded as a martyr. Kobert, Bishop of Here- 
ford, the old professor of Paris and Melun, had proposed 
by anticipation, with the coolness of a schoolman, the 
question whether this title would belong to the Primate 
if he should meet with death in his contest with the 
King. Grim relates that, on the very day after the 
murder, e: one of our habit and tonsure " apparently a 
monk of Christchurch at Canterbury denied his claim, 
on the ground that his obstinacy had deserved his fate. a 
The Lambeth biographer reports that some persons 
regarded his pretence of justice as merely a covering for 
pride and vainglory ; that they held him to have been 
lacking in that charity without which suffering is of no 
avail ; to have been fond of pomp, haughty, rapacious, 
violent, and cruel ; that they argued that, as it is not 
the pain of death which makes a martyr, so neither is 
it his cause alone, but that a good cause must be accom- 
panied by graces of character and conduct in which 
Thomas of Canterbury was manifestly deficient. 15 And 

* i. 80. b ii. 128-9. 




we are told that half a century later, in defiance both of 
Papal canonization and of popular enthusiasm, the same 
opinions found their defenders in the University of 
Paris nay, that even the salvation of Becket was called 
in question/ Into the technical inquiry whether the 
title of martyr were deserved, it is unnecessary now to 
enter, but some estimate of his merits will be here 
expected by way of conclusion. 

It is not for one age to make its own principles the 
rule for judging of persons who belonged to another 
age ; and if there be anything which honourably dis- 
tinguishes the tone of history in our time from that 
which prevailed during the eighteenth century, it is 
most especially the disposition to make allowance for 
men of earlier times, whose ideas and circumstances 
were widely different from our own. Yet this allowance 
may be carried too far, so as to seduce historical writers 
into a love of paradox, and to produce a forgetfulness of 
the bounds which separate right from wrong. Without 
denying that the conduct of a personage in history may 
have been justified before his own conscience, we may 
rightly ask whether it deserves the gratitude of mankind ; 
and as to his personal justification, we are entitled to ask 
not only whether he acted according to the light which 
he had, but whether he was careful to obtain or 

a Caesar. Heisterbae., viii. 69 
(p. 621, ed. Colon. 1599) ; Daniel, 
84. Csesarius mentions this as a 
case in which the sanctity of a man 
who had done no miracles in his 
life (but see pp. 197, 262 above) was 

vindicated by miracles after death. 
In Godwin, De Prsesulibus, p. 74, 
is cited a Lambeth MS. : " Trac- 
tatus in quo probatur causam exilii 
mortisque Thomae justam fuisse." 


whether he did not rather shut out the best light 
which was within his reach. How, then, will Becket 
bear such an inquiry ? Can we acquit him, if we con- 
sider that, however much the principles of his genera- 
tion might have been corrupted by a long course of 
falsehoods and forgeries by the pretended Decretals, 
by the influence of Hildebrand and his school, by the 
indiscriminating compilations and perverted glosses of 
the canonists the Bible was open to him, and the true 
history of earlier Christian ages was not wholly overlaid ? 
that the pretensions which he set up in behalf of the 
clergy were opposed by many of the most learned eccle- 
siastics?* that his ablest and most confidential adviser 
was often obliged to disapprove of his proceedings, and 
earnestly represented to him the danger of inflaming 
his mind by the study of the books on which his pre_ 
tensions were grounded ? b If Kichard of Canterbury, 
could argue the question of the clerical immunities in 
the manner which we have seen, c is it to be said that 
the age is to serve as an excuse for the unreasonable 
and unscriptural views which Becket so zealously main- 
tained on the subject ? 

The great fortune of Becket's reputation was the 
manner of his end. "His behaviour in this act of 
death," says Daniel ; " his courage to take it ; his pas- 
sionate* 1 committing the cause of the Church, with his 
soul, to God and His saints the place, the time, the 

P. 93. 

Pp. 167, 174. 
P. 82. 

d The edition before me reads 
"passion are," which is clearly 


manner, and all aggravates the hatred of the deed, 
and makes compassion and opinion to be on his a side." b 
All that was unseemly in his last struggle was washed 
away by his blood. The continual expressions of appre- 
hension, and vaunts of his readiness to die, in. which he 
had indulged for years offensive as they were in them- 
selves, and calumnious towards the King seemed then 
to acquire a reflected justification, and even to be in- 
vested with the character of prophetic foresight. But, 
in truth, the crime of his murderers must almost be dis- 
missed from our consideration in endeavouring to form 
an estimate of his merits. We must judge him mainly 
by his previous acts; and we must confine ourselves 
strictly to the real facts of the case, since the utter mis- 
representations by which the sympathy of his contem- 
poraries was enlisted on his side render their opinion as 
worthless as that of those who in our own time have 
allowed themselves to be led by it, without the labour or 
the desire of acquiring materials for a correct and im- 
partial judgment. 

If we condemn Becket, it is by no means necessary 
that we should acquit his royal antagonist. " Henry the 
Second," says Dean Milman, "was a sovereign who, 
with many noble and kingly qualities, lived, more than 
even most monarchs of his age, in the direct violation of 
every Christian precept of justice, humanity, conjugal 
fidelity. He was lustful, cruel, treacherous, arbitrary. 
But throughout this contest there is no remonstrance 
whatever from Primate or Pope against his disobedience 

Ed., " this." b Chronic., 80. 



to the laws of God only to those of the Church." a In 
endeavouring, therefore, to estimate the conduct of the 
King and the Archbishop towards each other, our view 
must be confined to those parts of Henry's character 
which brought him under the denunciations of the 
hierarchy. And here even if we admit all that is 
imputed to him by his opponents it seems impossible to 
approve of Becket's dealings with him. The King was 
deceived in the fancy that he knew the man whom he 
promoted to the primacy ; whereas, on Henry's part, 
the contest drew forth nothing for which Becket had not 
been before prepared. If Henry was violent and false, 
was it for Becket to begin his primacy by giving the lie 
to all his former life ; and not only to be violent, but to 
set the example of violence ? If there were reason to 
apprehend that the attack on the immunities of criminal 
clerks might be followed by some attempt to encroach 
on the real rights of the Church, was the denial of a 
plainly reasonable claim the best way of establishing a 
ground for resistance to such aggressions ? and was it 
for a Christian prelate, not only to oppose the King in a 
reasonable claim, but to render his opposition more 
offensive by continual displays of that pride with which 
his enemies loudly reproach him, which alienated many 
who were friendly towards him, and which even his 
most zealous admirers hardly venture to gloss over ? b 

a Lat. Christ., iii. 527, ed. 1. 

b Humilis erat humilibus, elatis 
ferus et viol ens ; quasi innatum 
erat ei 

" Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos." 
Fitzst., i. 190. 

Two lines of Mr. Henry Taylor's 
' Edwin the Fair ' (where they are 
spoken of Dunstan) may serve as a 
commentary : 

" He's humble to the poor, to spite the rich ; 
Give me the man who's humble with his 
peers !" 


If Becket had been disposed to act as a reformer of the 
English Church, there was abundant opportunity for his 
exertions. Without requiring from an ecclesiastic of 
that age that he should have anticipated the work of the 
sixteenth century, we may see in the excessive abuse of 
pluralities, by which the Chancellor himself had largely 
profited, in the practice of keeping bishoprics long 
vacant in order that the Crown might appropriate the 
revenues, and in the grossly irregular lives of many 
among the clergy evils which loudly called for redress. 
By impartially attacking these and other disorders, 
Becket might have assured himself of the King's co- 
operation, and might thus have established a footing for 
opposition to any really objectionable measures which 
might be attempted. But unfortunately both for the 
Church and for his own reputation, we can see nothing 
of impartiality in his proceedings. If he urged that 
bishoprics should be filled up, his motives were sus- 
pected, because all his other exertions were on the side 
of the hierarchy sticklings for revenues and for pa- 
tronage, for castles and for lands, exaltation of the 
spiritual above the temporal power, claims that the 
clergy should be privileged above the laity by exemption 
from the tax-gatherer and the hangman. The anger of 
the King and the nobles was naturally excited against a 
prelate who seemed indisposed to admit that the laity, 
the secular government, the Crown, or the law had 
any rights whatever against the hierarchy. By taking 
his stand on the assertion of a privilege utterly un- 
founded, inconsistent with every principle of civil govern- 
ment, and practically hurtful even to the class in whose 


behalf it was claimed, lie rendered hopeless all real 
reform either in the administration of the Church or in 
its relations with the State. Yet the man who com- 
mitted this grievous error was one from whom, above all 
other men, an opposite policy might have been fairly 
expected. If, on the one side or on the other, the 
rights of the Church or of the State were liable to be 
conceived with a narrowness and a partiality suggested 
by the position of individuals, to whom could we look 
with so much hope of discovering wider and sounder 
views as to a man who had passed from the highest 
secular office under the Crown to the highest office in 
the national Church? From such a man, surely, it 
might have been expected that he would 

" know 

Both spiritual pow'r and civil, what each means, 
What severs each the bounds of either sword." a 

From Becket, whether he had retained the chancellor- 
ship with his archbishopric or had resigned it, we might 
have expected that he would endeavour to direct the 
combined action of the ecclesiastical and the secular 
power to the good government of the English people ; 
that, believing both civil and spiritual government to be 
" ordained of God," he would have discerned that the 
real well-being of both must lie, not in opposition, but 
in harmonious co-operation. Such a view was not 
hidden from the apprehension of his contemporaries, as 
may be seen by the language of Kotrou, a and by that of 
the more moderate Imperialists, from the time of the 

a Milton, " Sonnet to Sir H. Vane." b P. 225. 


contest between Hildebrand and Henry the Fourth. 
But Becket could only see in the relations of Church 
and State an "incurable duality;" to him it seemed 
that the servant of the one must be the enemy of the 
other; and as, when Chancellor, he had lent himself to 
measures of oppression against the Church, so, after 
having become Archbishop, he had no feeling but for 
the most exclusive claims of the clergy. Dr. Lingard's 
remark that, " by uniting in himself the offices of Chan- 
cellor and Archbishop, he might in all probability have 
ruled without control in Church and State," a therefore, 
instead of justifying Becket, suggests a ground of severe 
condemnation against him. For it was not from any 
want of ambition or from any indifference to power that 
the Archbishop resigned the chancellorship, but because 
he had been led by a false and narrow theory to believe 
that Church and State must be irreconcileably hostile to 
each other ; and thus he thrust from him such opportu- 
nities of effecting good as few men have ever enjoyed, 
that he might suffer exile and death for a groundless 
and mischievous pretension. 

If we compare Becket with the two great champions 
of the hierarchy who within a century had preceded him 
Gregory the Seventh and Anselm the result will not 
be in his favour. He had nothing of Hildebrand's ori- 
ginality of conception of his world-wide view of his 
superiority to vulgar objects of his far-sighted patience- 
Doubtless he would have been ready to adopt the great 
Pope's dying words, that he suffered because he had 

See p. 63. 


" loved righteousness, and hated iniquity ;" but how 
much more of self-deceit would have been necessary for 
this in the one case than in the other! Hildebrand, 
while he exalted the hierarchy against the secular power, 
had laboured with an earnest, although partly misdirected 
zeal, that its members should not be unworthy of the 
lofty part which he assigned to it in the economy of this 
world : in Becket we see the Hildebrandine principles 
misapplied to shelter the clergy from the temporal 
punishment of their crimes. Far less will the later Eng- 
lish Primate endure a comparison with his illustrious 
predecessor Anselm. It is, indeed, no reproach to him 
that he was without that profound philosophical genius 
which made Anselm the greatest teacher that the Church 
had seen since St. Augustine ; but the deep and mystical 
fervour of devotion, the calm and gentle temper, the 
light, keen, and subtle, yet kindly wit, the amiable and 
unassuming character of Anselm the absence of all 
personal pretension in his assertion of the Church's 
claims are qualities which fairly enter into the com- 
parison, and which contrast strikingly with the coarse 
worldly pride and ostentation by which the character 
and the religion of Becket were disfigured. Nor in a 
comparison either with Anselm or with Hildebrand must 
we forget that, while, tlieir training had been exclusively 
clerical and monastic^ Becket's more varied experience 
of life renders the excesses of hierarchical spirit far less 
excusable^ him thanVra them. 

An eminent writer, ' A w}iose position is very different 
from that of Becket's ordinary admirers, has eulbgised 
him as having contributed to maintain thejffince of 


moral against physical force, to control the despotism 
which oppressed the middle ages, and so to prepare the 
way for modern English liberty. a And such was, un- 
questionably, the result of his exertions, as of much be- 
sides in the labours of Hildebrand and his followers. But 
it is rather an effect wrought out by an over-ruling Provi- 
dence than anything which Becket contemplated, or for 
which he deserves credit or gratitude. His efforts were 
made, not in the general cause of the community, but 
for the narrowest interests of the clergy as a body 
separate from other men ; and it is not to the freest but 
to the most priest-ridden and debased of modern countries 
that we ought to look for the consequences which would 
have followed, if the course of things had answered to 
Becket's intention. 

Least of all does Becket deserve the sympathy of those 
among ourselves who dread that reversed Hildebrandism 
which would reduce the Church to a mere function of 
the secular power. An Englishman ought no more, as 
a churchman, to espouse the cause of those who in 
former times exaggerated the claims of the hierarchy, 
than, as the subject of a constitutional monarchy, he 
ought to defend the excesses of despotism. The name 
of Becket, instead of serving as a safeguard to those who 
fear encroachment on the Church in our own time, will 
only furnish their opponents with a pretext for represent- 
ing the most equitable claims in behalf of the Church as 
manifestations of a spirit which would aim at the esta- 
blishment of priestly tyranny and intolerance. 

* Sir J. Stephen, Essays, i. 377-8. 



THAT the chancellor was not yet a judge, see Lord Camp- 
bell's ' Lives of Chancellors,' ed. 3, i. 4 ; Foss, i. 14. Mr. 
Foss seems to be somewhat at a loss how to reconcile this 
with Fitzstephen's description of himself as "in Cancellaria 
ejus [Thomae] dictator . . . sedente eo ad cognitionem causarum, 
epistolarum et instrumentorum quae offerebantur lector, 
et aliquarum, eo quandoque jubente, causarum patronus" 
(S. T. C. i. 171). There is, however, really no incon- 
sistency ; for the place of business which is styled cancellaria 
was not a court, but an office or bureau ; and the description 
of Becket as a judge relates to the time of his archiepisco- 
pate. This appears from the previous mention (in a clause 
intervening between " dictator " and " sedente ") of Fitz- 
stephen's assisting at his master's celebration of mass (for it 
was only on the day before his consecration as archbishop 
that Becket received the priestly ordination which qualified 
him to celebrate) ; and also from his speaking of himself 
as pleading causes, which clergymen were forbidden to do 
in any other than ecclesiastical courts. On the other 
hand, Wendover's statement that Becket was much em- 
ployed " in causis perorandis et decidendis " (ii. 293) 
belongs to a time before his appointment to the chancel- 
lorship while he was as yet a member of Theobald's 
household, and so took part in the proceedings of the 
archiepiscopal court. 



The charge against Becket of having bought the chan- 
cellorship seems to deserve little attention ; but in other 
cases the office was generally believed to have been sold. 
Under Henry I. it appears to have been bought by Geoffrey 
Rufus, afterwards Bishop of Durham. The Annals of 
Margam record, under the date of 1122, that he became 
chancellor " pro vii millibus libris argenti " (ap. Gale, 
t. ii.) ; and in the Great Eoll of 31 Henry I. (A.D. 1130-1) 
there is an entry that he owed the King 3006?. 13,9. 4d. " pro 
sigillo" (Foss, i. 82, 136). Here the ambiguity of the re- 
cord is removed by the passage in the Annals, with which 
Mr. Foss was not acquainted when he spoke of the Roll 
as the only authority for Geoffrey's purchase of the office ; 
while the entry in the Roll vindicates the truth of the 
annalist. It would seem that the price was 7000/., and 
that of this sum 3006/. 13s. 4d. remained due some years 

Benedict of Peterborough (ed. Hearne, i. 149) states 
that, in 1176, Archbishop Roger of York bought the chan- 
cellorship for his nephew Geoffrey, provost of Beverley, 
for 11,000 marks. But Diceto, who tells us that Geoffrey 
had bought the office of chancellor to the younger Henry 
for eleven hundred marks (ap. Twysden, 589), says nothing 
of his having given eleven thousand for the chancellorship 
of England ; and both Diceto and Robert of Mont St. 
Michel, in recording that he was drowned in 1177, de- 
scribe him as still chancellor to. the younger king. It seems, 
therefore, questionable whether Benedict's story be enough 
to warrant the addition of Geoffrey to the list of chancel- 
lors of England. 

App. III. APPENDIX. 323 


" Ille Theobaldus, qui Christ! prsesidet aulse 
Quam fidei matrem Cantia nostra colit, 
Hunc successurum sibi sperat, et orat ut idem 

Prsesulis officium muniat atque locum. 
Hie est, carnificum qui jus cancellat iniquum, 

Quos habuit reges Auglia capta diu, 
Esse putans reges, quos est perpessa tyrannos ; 
Plus veneratur eos, qui nocuere magis." 

JOH. SARISB., Entliet. de Doym. Philos., 1293 seq. 

" Did Becket," asks Dean Milman, " decide against the 
Norman laws by the Anglo-Saxon ? Has any one guessed 
the meaning of the rest of John's verses on the chancellor 
and his court ? I confess myself baffled " (iii. 453). 
Although John's Xenien are abundantly enigmatical, I must 
hazard a conjecture as to the meaning of this passage. It 
does not seem to refer to Becket as a judge (see App. I.), 
but to describe him as reversing by legislation and adminis- 
tration what had been done under Stephen (the Hircanus 
of the following lines, and of vv. 147 sqq.), who, notwith- 
standing the defectiveness of his title and the disorders of 
his reign, had been generally popular. There is a similar 
passage as to Becket in the ' Entheticus in Polycraticum * 
(Patrol, cxcix. 379) : 

" Hie est qui regni leges cancellat iniquas, 
Et mandata pii principis sequa facit," &c. 

I cannot see that a letter in which Theobald gives advice 
to the King as to the choice of a successor in the arch- 
bishopric (Joh. Sar. Ep. 54) points to Becket ; indeed some 
of the expressions might rather be construed as deprecating 
the appointment of one who was supposed to be more de- 
voted to the King than to the Church " Non quseratis in 
hac re quse vestra sunt, sed quae Domini," &c. 

Y 2 

324: LIFE OF BECKET. Apr. IV., V. 


There is a letter of Foliot, in which lie begs the King 
to excuse him for declining a proposal made through Becket 
as chancellor " Ut curam LondoniaB episcopatus susci- 
piam, et ex parte redituum episcopatus episcopum ipsum et domum 
ejus eochibeam, reliquum vero domino meo regi, prout sibi 
spiritus Dei suggesserit erogandum, conservem " (Ep. 119). 
Mr. Morris supposes the proposal to have been made while 
the see was vacant, and renders the words which I have 
marked by italics " with part of the income to maintain 
myself and my household as its bishop " (p. 33). But the 
meaning clearly is, " That I should maintain the bishop and 
his household ; " and the most probable explanation seems 
to be, that, the bishop having become incapable, Foliot 
was desired to undertake the management of the diocese, 
to apply part of the revenues to the support of the old man 
and his dependents, and to pay over the rest into the 
Treasury. Such an arrangement would have been much 
less discreditable to the authors of it than either of those 
which Mr. Morris suggests, while it would have been ques- 
tionable enough to warrant Foliot in speaking of it as 
" periculosum, et in multum animae nieae dispendium," even 
if these words might not be accounted for by his unwilling- 
ness to add the care of London to that of Hereford. 


John of Salisbury, in his ' Polycraticus ' (written before 
the quarrel which ranged him on the opposite side to 
Foliot), reports an amusing confession : 

" Yenerabilis pater Gilbertus Herefordensis episcopus 
mihi referre consuevit claustralium morein quern in se 
ipso se fatebatur expertum. Cum enim monasteiium in- 


gressus esset, fervens adhuc igne, quern de novo conceperat, 
magistratuum suorum ignaviam arguebat. Nee mora, pro- 
motus in modico, miseratione complicium motus est ; non- 
dum tainen pepercit majoribus. Paulo post ad priores 
ascendit : prioribusque compatiens, carpere non cessavit 
abbates. Factus est et ipse abbas, et propitius in coabbates 
episcoporum coepit vitia intueri. Tandem et ipse episcopus, 
coepiscopis parcit. Nee tamen invidis vitio arbitror la- 
borasse, sed vir prudens quod hominibus quodammodo 
ingenituin est, eleganter expressit." vii. 24 (col. 704). 

VI. FOLIOT'S LETTER TO BECKET, No. cxcry. (p. 44). 

This letter was first published from a MS. in the Cotton 
collection, by Lord Lyttelton (iii. 186), who supposes 
that it and others had been omitted by Wolf on account 
of their unfavourable bearing on the character of Becket. 
Its genuineness has been denied by Mr. Berington 
(665 sqq.), who is followed by Dr. Lingard (ii. 131, 623) ; 
but their arguments are very weak, and have been refuted 
by Mr. Turner (i. 233), Dean Milman (iii. 454), Dr. Pauli 
(iii. 69), and the Romanist Mr. Buss (429). Mr. Morris 
seems also to admit its genuineness, while he attempts to 
profit by the suspicion which has been cast on it (414-6). 
The charge of suppression against Wolf, however, is pro- 
bably unfounded, as the letter itself does not appear in the 
Vatican MS., although the title of it is there (Beringt. 655). 
Mr. Froude, without going into the question of its genu- 
ineness, considers himself entitled to disbelieve what is 
stated in the letter, on the ground that it was not a private 
communication, but a " published pamphlet," intended to 
vindicate the writer, and asperse Becket, at a time when 
the Archbishop was banished, and all communication with, 
him was forbidden (588). I am not disposed to trust 


either the friends or the enemies of Becket implicitly, but 
cannot agree to this wholesale rejection of all testimony 
except that which is favourable to Mr. Froude's hero. 


I am altogether unable to admit Mr. Froude's argument 
(p. 577), that Becket's conduct in the case of Battle Abbey 
must have been irreproachable in an ecclesiastical point of 
view, because he himself, in a letter to the Pope (A.D. 
1168), speaks of that case as one in which the secular 
power had been wrongly exalted against the papacy (Epp. 
Thorn., i. 54). For in truth it would appear that Becket 
was quite incapable of viewing his own conduct dispas- 
sionately. He seems to have fancied that, in exchanging 
the chancellorship for the primacy, he had not only been 
released from all obligations as to money, but had got rid 
of his former self; and thus he would have been quite 
ready to reprobate, as if he were altogether guiltless, an 
act in which he had been a chief instrument. 

Too much, however, has been made of this affair. A 
consideration of the constant disputes as to monastic exemp- 
tions would probably have moderated the inferences which 
Lord Lyttelton (ii. 133) draws from the Battle case against 
Becket, while it would have saved Mr. Froude much very 
sophistical reasoning, and the bold supposition that the 
Abbey records were "intentionally disguised" (577), in 
order to give a false colouring to the story. Hilary, Bishop 
of Chichester, whom we shall hereafter meet with as a 
royalist, had enunciated the most extreme Hildebrandine 
opinions in the matter of Battle, and was reproved for them 
by the Chancellor. Mr. Buss, while he argues that Becket, 
as chancellor, generally defended the Church, gives up his 
conduct in this case (170). 



M. Thierry has here missed an opportunity of working 
his Saxon theory. For wherever Norman enterprise had 
penetrated, there the Ridels were conspicuous. One fought 
at Hastings, and is on the Roll of Battle Abbey. Others 
figure in the chronicles of the Italian Normans as Dukes 
of Gaeta and Lords of Pontecorvo (see the Chron. Casi- 
nense, in Pertz, vii., and the old French translation of 
Amatus, published by Champollion Figeac). An earlier 
Geoffrey Ridel was Chief Justiciary of England under 
Henry I., and perished with Prince William in the " White 
Ship" (see Order. Vital., 1. xii. c. 14; Foss, i. 133). In 
Scotland we find Gervase Ridel as a witness to the " Inqui- 
sition of Prince David " in 1113 (Wilkins, Concilia, i. 393), 
and Hugh Ridel as a surety for William the Lyon when 
taken prisoner at Alnwick in 1174 (Bromton, 1105); and 
from these are descended the existing Riddells of Riddell. 

The following paragraph is copied from ' Notes and 
Queries' for 1854 (vol. x. p. 285) : 

" The newspapers lately announced that the office of 
Proctor in Convocation for the clergy of Canterbury was 
to be contested by the Rev. A. Oxenden and the Rev. 
J. C. B. Riddell gentlemen who, I believe, trace their 
ancestry to the companions of Hengist and of Rollo respec- 
tively. Might not a disciple of M. Thierry make some- 
thing of this ? Let us try : 

" ' Aujourd'hui meme, que huit siecles se sont ecoules 
depuis la funeste bataille de Hastings, on voit encore, sous 
les voutes de la meme cathedrale ou le Saxon Thomas 
Becket a succombe sous les coups meurtriers des ennemis 
de sa race, une vive contestation pour la representation du 
clerge de Cantorberi entre M. Ochsenbein, membre d'une 
tres ancienne famille du royaume Saxon de Kent, et M. 
Ridel, descendant du Sieur de Ridel qui se trouve sur le 
Hoi de Batel-Abbaye, et parent de ce Geoffroy Ridel a qui 




1'archeveque Saxon, au lieu de son titre ft* Archidiacre, a 
donne celui ft Archidiable. 

" * Low-churchman (homme de la basse eglise, puritain, vhigh) 
et high-churchman (homme de la haute eglise, thory} Saxon 
et Normand voila comme se reproduit 1'inextinguible 
lutte sous le voile sombre et mystique de la theologie re- 
formee de 1'Anglicanisme ! ' 


Happily my respected friends, with whose names and 
principles the imitator of M. Thierry has here taken such 
liberties, are now not rivals, but colleagues in the represen- 
tation of the diocese. 1859. 

IX. DANEGELD (p. 74). 

The impost which Becket resisted has been generally 
identified with the Danegeld, as the rate per hide of land 
was the same ; and Carte pronounces the story " too absurd 
to need a serious refutation^' because it is " founded upon 
a supposition that the two shillings an hyde levied for 
Danegeld was not for the King's use, but was due to the 
under-sheriffs that held the county courts." (i. 579.) But 
Grim is not (as Carte fancied) the only authority for the 
story ; and the account which he and others give of the 
charge seem to show that it was something different from 
Danegeld. Thus Eoger of Pontigny says 'that the nobles 
caused it to be paid by their vassals to the sheriffs 
" quatenus tali servitio et beneficio eos a gravaminibus et 
calumniis hominum suorum a cohiberent." (113.) In like 
manner Gamier (whose narrative coincides remarkably 
with Eoger's) speaks 

* Mr. Morris has utterly mis- 
understood these words, supposing, 
e. g., hominum suorum to mean the 

subordinates of the sheriffs, instead 
of their [the earls' and barons'^ vas- 
sals. p. 90. 


" Li baron del pais le soleient duner 
A ces ki furent mis pur les cuntez guarder, 
K'il deussent lur teres e lur humes tenser, 
Ne que mil n'en deussent empleidier ne greuer." 65*. 

and Becket 1 s answer to the King, as reported by all the 
writers, agrees with this. At all events it does not appear 
that Henry wished (as Dr. Lingard says) to "revive " any 
impost which had become obsolete, or to add to the bur- 
dens of his people ; he meant only to make the payment 
compulsory (which it probably was in effect before) and 
to alter its destination. 

As to Danegeld, the clergy had been exempt from it in 
Saxon times, their prayers being considered as their con- 
tribution to the defence of the country. "William Eufus, 
however, refused to allow any such exemption (Collier, 
ii. 479). Danegeld was paid throughout the reign of 
Henry I. (Ling., ii. 40). Stephen is said to have sworn 
to the abolition of it (Henr. Huntingd., 1. viii., in Patrol., 
cxcv. 957 ; E. Wendover, ii. 218) ; but this statement is 
considered very doubtful by Dr. Lappenberg, ii. 303. 


William of Canterbury tells us that Becket proceeded 
" juxta constitutionem illam, Si crimen ecclesiasticum est, 
tune secundum canones ab episcopo suo causarum exa- 
minatio et pcena procedat, nullam communionem aliis 
judicibus habentibus in hujusmodi causis " (S. T. C. ii. 12). 
This is from Gratian, P. II., causa xi. qu. 1, c. 45 (Patrol., 
clxxxvii.) ; and there are equivalent words in Justinian, 
Novell. 83 (ib. Ixxii. 1006). But whereas Becket seems 
to have understood crimen ecclesiasticum as meaning any crime 
of an ecclesiastic, the real meaning is evidently an ecclesiastical 
crime i.e., such an offence as was noticed by the laws of 


the Church only, and not by those of the State. Moreover, 
the Novel had immediately before laid down that, in the 
case of civil crimes, clergymen should be tried before the 
secular judges ; and even in Gratian something of this 
remains. In another Novel Justinian prescribes a course 
substantially the same with that which Henry II. pro- 
posed, that the Bishop should inquire into a charge 
against a clerk, and, if the accused were found guilty, 
should depose him, and then hand him over to the secular 
judge. Novell. 123. (Patrol., Ixxii. 1031.) 

CONQUEROR (p. 84). 

The object of this law has been much disputed. Some 
have supposed it to be intended as confining the jurisdic- 
tion of the Bishops rather than as adding to the privileges 
of the clergy. Mr. Buss wishes to make out that William 
intended to establish the canon law in England, and, as 
all visible evidence is against the idea of the King's defer- 
ring to the principles of Hildebrand, Mr. Buss supposes 
that there must have been a continual secret and con- 
fidential communication with Eome, of an opposite ten- 
dency to that which appears! (85, 124-5, 133.) Some 
suppose the law intended for a temporary and special 
occasion (Selden, Hist, of Tithes, 14, in Works, iii. 1282). 
M. Thierry imagines the object to have been that the Nor- 
man prelates might help in the work of depressing the 
Saxons, and that now the law came to be used for the 
annoyance of the race in whose favour it was given (ii. 273). 
See Johnson's Canons, ii. 50-1 ; Inett, 251 ; Southey, Yin- 
diciae, 355-6. 



Armilf has been already mentioned as one of those by 
whose policy Becket was introduced to Henry (p. 26), and 
as conspicuous in the Council of Tours (p. 70). He had 
contributed to the recognition of Innocent II. as pope, by 
a very abusive pamphlet against the an ti- pope, Anacletus ; 
he had taken part in the Second Crusade (Will. Tyr. 
xvii. 1), and more recently had exerted himself in behalf 
of Alexander III. (See his Letters, 21, 23, 24; or Baronius, 
11 59,. 58, sqq.) His entrance on the bishopric of Lisieux, 
to which he was elected in 1141, was opposed by Geoffrey, 
the father of King H enry ; but he was recommended to 
Innocent in terms of high eulogy by St. Bernard (Ep. 348) 
and by Peter " the Venerable " of Cluny (Ep. iii. 7, Patrol., 
clxxxix.), and obtained possession of the see. 

Throughout the contest between Henry and Becket, 
Arnulf endeavoured to keep well with both parties out- 
wardly siding with the King, while he assured the Arch- 
bishop that he was with him in heart, although pre- 
vented by his debts and other necessities from openly 
avowing his sympathy. Thus, he told one of Becket's 
envoys that, when sent to the Pope in the King's interest, 
he had privately recommended the Archbishop's cause. 
(S. T. C., iv. 189.) His advice to Becket, whether sincere 
or not, was generally good the substance of it being 
that the Archbishop should be content to make peace 
on condition of securing such points as were essential, 
without endeavouring to gain the appearance of a triumph 
over the King (ed. Giles, 158-160). Arnulf, however, 
proved to be too clever, and by his duplicity forfeited 
the respect which his abilities had procured for him. 
Herbert of Bosham speaks of him as a person whose title 
to the name of Christian was very doubtful, " unless per- 
chance words, and not deeds, make a Christian " as one 
" whose whole virtue is in his mouth, whose tongue is 



of gold and his heart of iron" who "with his mouth 
spake peace to the Archbishop, and secretly laid sanres 
for him " (viii. 232). The debts in which he had involved 
himself, chiefly for the building of his cathedral, were 
a lasting incumbrance to him. Several of his letters are 
full of pitiful supplications for the restoration of the King's 
favour, which he had at length utterly lost. In 1 ] 82 he 
resigned his see, and two years later he died in the 
monastery of St. Victor, at Paris. The history of Arnulf 
forms a remarkable commentary on a passage in one of his 
Letters : " Experimento didicimus, divino quodam judicio 
ssepius evenire, quod hi qui, ob aifectationem favoris 
humani, reverentiam divine majestatis offendunt, divini 
quidem dispendium faciunt, sed humanum, quern affecta- 
verant, minime consequuntur." Ep. 31, ad Alexandr. 

Some of Arnulf s letters are in Wolfs collection. His 
extant writings have been published by Dr, Giles, whose 
edition is reprinted in vol. cci. of Migne's l Patrologia/ 


This matter does not seem to be quite fairly represented 
by Archdeacon Churton, who says that Becket "declined 
giving his pastoral blessing to a bad man named Clarem- 
bald, who had been made abbot of St. Augustine's." (Early 
Eng. Ch. 344.) The character of Clarembald was indeed 
unquestionably bad. Pie is described as " a fugitive and 
apostate monk in Normandy" (Thorn, in Twysden, 1819) ; 
and, after having kept his ground as abbot elect until 1173, 
was deprived, after an investigation by the Bishops of 
Exeter and Worcester, who had been commissioned by the 
Pope for the purpose. These commissioners report that 
they had received evidence of the most scandalous mal- 
versation in the management of his office, and of the gross- 


est licentiousness in his personal conduct among other 
things, " quod in una duntaxat villa et adjacentiis ejusxvii. 
genuit spurios." (Joh. Sarisb., Ep. 310; cf. Diceto, 561. Is 
this the origin of the Claringboulds who are now found 
among the peasantry of the neighbourhood ? ) But Cla- 
rembald's character did not come into the question between 
him and Becket. The claim that the Abbot of St. Augus- 
tine should receive the benediction within his own monas- 
tery, and without any profession of obedience, had been 
advanced against Archbishop Lanfranc, who was compelled 
by \\illiam Eufus to comply with it. Archbishop Anselm, 
however, obliged the next abbot to wait on him and 
receive his benediction in. the Bishop of Rochester's 
Chapel at Lambeth. (Eadmer, Hist. Novorum, 1. iv., in 
Patrol, clix. 468 ; Inett, ii. 124.) But the question was 
afterwards revived, and on this and other subjects the 
monks of St. Augustine's were continually at feud with 
the archbishops and with the monks of the cathedral. In 
1124, as Archbishop William of Corboyl could not be pre- 
vailed on to bless Abbot Hugh, except in the cathedral, 
Henry I. authorised the Bishop of Chichester to give the 
benediction in the monastery. The latest precedent was 
in favour of Clarembald, Archbishop Theobald having 
been compelled by the Pope, after much contention, to 
comply with the Augustinian pretensions in giving the 
benediction to Abbot Silvester, A.D. 1152. (See Joh. 
Sarisb., Epp. 102, 105; Gervas. 1370.) The claims of St. 
Augustine's were grounded on documents which Pope 
Alexander, supposing them genuine, did not feel himself 
at liberty to overrule (S. T. C. iv. 255) ; but their genuine- 
ness was really suspicious in the extreme. There is a 
letter from Giles, bishop of Evreux, about this time, 
stating that a monk of St. Medard's, at Soissons, had con- 
fessed on his death-bed to having forged "apostolical 
privileges " for the monks of St. Augustine's, and suggest- 
ing that the genuineness of their parchments should be 
inquired into. (Wharton, Ang. Sac. ii., praef. p. v.) After 


the deposition of Clarembald, his pretensions were 
renewed against Archbishop Kichard by Eoger, who 
had been elected to the abbacy. The Archbishop, although 
ordered by the Pope to give the benediction in the required 
terms, refused ; and the matter remained unsettled until 
1178, when the abbot, after the employment of such means 
as were usually necessary and successful at the Eoman 
court, received the benediction from the Pope in person. 
(Gervas. 1444.) In 1181 the Bishop of Durham and 
others were appointed by the Pope to examine the charters 
of St. Augustine's, when strong grounds of presumption 
appeared against those which were most relied on (ib. 1458) ; 
but the Pope sanctioned the claims of the abbey. An un- 
cordial system of compromise was then carried on for 
upwards of 200 years. The archbishops would not go to 
the abbey, nor the abbots to the archbishops, and the 
benediction was given by some other prelate, until, in 
1406, Abbot Thomas Hunden was blessed by Archbishop 
Arundel, in St. Paul's, London. See the Chronicles of 
St. Augustine's, by Thorn (in Twysden) ; and Thomas of 
Elmharn, edited in 1858, for the ' Chronicles and Memo- 
rials of Great Britain,' by my friend Archdeacon Hard- 
wick, whose life, so full both of valuable performance 
and of yet higher promise, has been cut short by a pre- 
mature and terrible end while these sheets were in the 
course of final revision for the press. 


The papal envoy's title of " Abbas de Eleemosyna " has 
evidently caused much perplexity, although no writer has 
avowed any difficulty as to the matter. Dr. Giles writes 
Eleemosyna with a small initial (S. T. C., i. 26 ; iv. 277) ; 
and Philip has been variously styled " The Abbot Al- 
moner," "The Pope's Almoner," "Abbot of Charity," and 

Apr. XV. APPENDIX. 335 

the like. But, in fact, Eleemosyna (in Gamier VAlmodne, 
and in later French VAumone) was the name of a Cistercian 
abbey, otherwise called Little Citeaux, about four leagues 
to the south-east of Chateaudun. (Le Prevost, n. 011 Order. 
Vital., t. iii. 445, ed. Soc. de 1'Hist. de France.) Orderic 
mentions the fondness of the Cistercians for giving their 
monasteries such names as "Domus Dei, Clara Vallis, 
Bonus Mons, et Eleemosyna, .... quibus auditores 
solo nominis nectare invitantur festinanter experiri quanta 
sit ibi beatitudo, quae tarn special! denotetur vocabulo." 
It was from I'Aumone that the abbey of Waverley, in 
Surrey, was founded (Joh. Petriburg., ap. Sparke, 66), 
and also (as I learn from Mr. Morris, who has in part 
anticipated this note, p. 413) that of Tintern. 


Alan of Tewkesbury relates that, after the Council of 
Clarendon, Becket's cross-bearer took it on himself to 
reprove his master's late compliance (i. 340) ; and such is 
probably the origin of a story introduced by Father 
Lacordaire into one of his eloquent " Conferences," that, 
as the Archbishop was going from the Council, a deacon, 
who was his cross-bearer, placed the cross against a wall 
and refused to serve him, since he had betrayed the 
liberties of the Church, whereupon " Thomas Becket se 
mit a verser des larmes, et, aussitot qu'il fut rentre chez 
lui, il r^tracta ce qu'il avait signe." (i. 94, ed. Brux., 
1847.) M. Thierry's " fixed idea " comes out amusingly in 
connexion with the scene (which he unaccountably refers 
to the evening before the day on which the written Consti- 
tutions were produced). He tells us that, as the Arch- 
bishop was on his way to Winchester, " a Saxon, named 
Edward Grim, his cross-bearer, spoke loudly against his 
compliance," and adds, that " in this reproof national senti- 


ment had perhaps as great a share as religious conviction " 
(iii. 119). For this the historian refers to Fleury, who in 
reality does not pretend to name the cross-bearer, and says 
nothing as to his race (Bk. Ixxi. 5). In truth, the cross- 
bearer who spoke was not a Saxon, but of a race which 
had been dispossessed by the Saxons, a Welshman named 
Alexander Llewellyn, whom Giraldus Cambrensis de- 
scribes as "joculans et linguae dicacis" (De Instruct. Princi- 
pum, 187, ed. Brewer) ; nor was Grim ever Becket's cross- 
bearer, although the mistake of styling him so had been 
made by others before M. Thierry. Grim appears to have 
had no acquaintance with the Archbishop until he visited 
him at Canterbury about a week before the murder (Herb, 
vii. 368). Llewellyn was sent abroad just before that 
event; but, as we shall see hereafter, Grim did not act 
even as deputy cross-bearer on the fatal day. 


This strange phrase, which often occurs in writings of 
that age (e. g. Bernard, de Considerat., iii. 1 ; Pet. Bles. in 
Patrol., ccvii. 79; Will. Senon. in S. T. C., iv. 162), is 
derived from Psalm cxxvii. 5 (cxxvi. 4 Lat.), where the 
Latin Vulgate, following the LXX., has " ita sunt filii 
excussorum" for "so are the young children" (P. B.), or 
"children of the youth" (Eng. Bible). Eosenmuller 
(Schol. in loc.) says that the Greek and Latin translators' 
supposed the Hebrew word for youth (D*"ylV3) to be the par- 
ticiple of a verb meaning to shake out (~$J), and that under 
the epithet excussi they understood " persons who are 
shaken by troubles " (viol rwv fcKrertrcty^ie'rwv, oi fffyo^pa ro- 
XanropovfjiEvoi, Suidas, ed. Gaisford, ii. 3736). But this 
view of the meaning did not occur to, or did not satisfy 
the patristic and mediaeval commentators. According to 
St. Augustine (who expresses his belief that the explanation 


had been suggested to him by inspiration), the excussi are 
the Prophets, because their obscure language requires to be 
shaken out in order to get at its meaning ; and the filii 
excussorum are the Apostles (In Psalm, cxxvi. c. 10). 
Walafrid Strabo, however, holds that the Apostles them- 
selves are the excussi, because they were charged to shake 
off the dust from their feet (Gloss, in loc., Patrol., cxiii.). 
Bruno of Segni argues that they are the Apostles, but for a 
different reason that the Apostles were persecuted from 
city to city and he supposes the sons to be those who 
imitate them (in loc., ib. clxiv.). Gerhoh of Eeichersperg 
raises the question whether excussorum be the genitive of 
excussi or of excussores, but finds himself able to turn it to 
edification in either case (in loc., ib. cxciv.). It would, of 
course, be easy to multiply such specimens of interpreta- 
tion. Whether Herbert attached any definite meaning 
to the phrase does not appear. 


The release seems to me a matter of greater difficulty 
than it has been considered by many writers. That a 
release was asked and granted is certain ; but there remain 
the questions, (1) What was it supposed to imply? and 
(2) Was it rightly granted? It seems clear that the 
Chancellor's accounts might have been required, and, 
indeed, ought to have been rendered, before his promotion 
to the primacy ; and, on the other hand, that, if things 
had gone smoothly, or if Henry had had other means of 
assailing him, no demand would have been made on this 
ground. But, as matters actually stood, was it to be con- 
sidered that the release had barred all claims which the 
King might wish to raise ? Diceto, who (as Fitzstephen 
informs us, 227) was present at the trial, says that many 
thought it right that an account should be given, notwith- 



standing the release; and, moreover, that Becket was 
unable to prove the King's consent to it (537). Foliot 
afterwards made a jest of the Archbishop's fancying "that 
as in baptism sins are forgiven, so in promotion debts are 
released" (S. T. 0., iv. 271) ; and, which seems important, 
Herbert of Bosham represents the idea of pleading the 
release as having only occurred to the Bishop of Win- 
chester after a long deliberation with the other bishops 
("tandem recordatus est," vii. 138). Hence it seems 
doubtful whether the release was understood as an ac- 
quittance of all pecuniary claims, until such an interpre- 
tation was devised by way of meeting claims actually 
made. It would appear that nothing was expressly said 
as to money at the time of the election. The King, 
according to the Lambeth biographer, announced the 
release to the Pope when asking him to send Becket the 
pall (ii. 97), and thus made the act his own, even if he 
had not authorised it beforehand. But what did he suppose 
it to import, since he reckoned on Becket's continued 
services as Chancellor? Nay, what did Becket himself 
understand it to amount to, since he retained the charge of 
Eye and Berkhampstead ? It would seem to be the income 
from these castles that he alludes to, when, at a later time, 
he tells the Pope that the King no longer calls for the 
accounts of his Chancellorship, "but asks for that only 
which he says that I received of his property in the time 
of my archiepiscopate." As to this, however, the Arch- 
bishop declares that he is not bound, inasmuch as he had 
already rendered his account for it (iii. 35). 


The foundation of the Order of Sernpringham (which 
included recluses of both sexes) is variously dated from 
1131 to 1148. It was confirmed by Pope Eugenius III. 


A life of the founder, Gilbert, and the statutes of the Order, 
may be found in the Monasticon, vol. vi., pt. 2. The author 
of the Life tells us that St. Thomas of Canterbury appeared 
to one of his old retainers, saying, " I am Thomas, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, whom men call Saint Thomas." 
" Thanks be to God," said the old man, " who hath vouch- 
safed to do such great things for thee, my Lord ; for never, 
methinks, hath there been, or will there be, in our land one 
from whom so great joy shall arise." "I tell you," replied the 
Saint, " there will be one ; " and, on being asked the name, he 
answered by the single word " Gilbert," "whom," adds the 
biographer, " we take to be none other than this Gilbert of 
ours " (p. xv.). [It would seem that Bishop Foliot was not 
considered to be a likely rival, and few, perhaps, would 
now advance a claim for Bishop Burnet.] St. Gilbert of 
Sempringhani died in 1188. 


Herbert tells us that All Souls' Day was Tuesday, and 
that Tuesday was the day of the week on which the most 
remarkable events in the Saint's life took place his trial 
and flight, his crossing the sea, his return, and his martyr- 
dom ; to which Gamier adds his birth, and Diceto his first 
translation. (Herb., vii. 164; Gamier, 158; Diceto, 556.) 
Herbert also states that this Tuesday was a fortnight after 
that on which he "fought with beasts" at Northampton. 
It would appear, however, that in 1164 All Souls' Day fell 
on a Monday, and that it wanted but one day of three 
weeks since the last day of the Council. (See Nicolas, 
Chronology, p. 60.) The editor of \\illiani of Newburgh 
(i. 132) makes a needless difficulty as to dates, by sup- 
posing that Diceto speaks of the Council as having begun 
on October 13, whereas he really names that as the day 
of the trial about the Chancellorship. The addition of 

z 2 


Becket's baptism, and of a remarkable vision which he had 
at Pontigny (K. Gloucest., 126), to the memorable events 
of his Tuesdays (see Stanley, 58, ed. 3) was probably a 
later " development." 


Mr. Fronde, as we have seen (p. 11), refers this personal 
characteristic to the Archbishop's supposed " Asiatic ex- 
traction." Ever since the time of St. Jude's grand- 
children (Hegesipp. ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccl., iii. 20), at 
least, the appearance of the hands has occasionally served 
as a test of condition. Thus it is related, in the Life of 
Adalbero, Archbishop of Treves in the 12th century, that 
some sailors among whom he fell " coeperunt pulcherrimas 
manus ejus considerare, et ex hoc perpendere quod homo 
plebeius non esset " (Patrol., cliv. 1314) ; and the insur- 
gent peasantry of Languedoc, in the minority of Charles 
VI., massacred all who had not " callous hands." (Martin, 
Hist, de France, v. 349, ed. 4.) There is a story of a 
Jacobite belonging to Lord Forbes' s family who, after the 
battle of Culloden, disguised himself as a labourer, and 
when charged by some soldiers with being a gentleman in 
hiding, escaped by holding out his hands, which were 
naturally very large and rough, and asking, ** Are these 
the hands of a gentleman ? " Becket's opponent, King 

Henry, might have in like manner defied the test. 

" Manus ejus," says Peter of Blois, " quadam grossitia sua 
hominis incuriarn protestantur ; earum enim cultum pror- 
sus negligit ; nee unquam, nisi aves deferat, utitur chiro- 
thecis " (Ep. 66). 



The story of the resignation is told by all modern 
writers, and I have not ventured in the text to deviate 
from the usual track. Among the older biographers, how- 
ever, the incident does not appear by any means so distinct 
and certain. Nothing is said of it either by Eoger (whose 
acquaintance with Becket is supposed to have begun im- 
mediately after, on the Archbishop's settling at Pontigny) 
or by Gamier. The "dicitur" with which Fitzstephen 
introduces his statement (i. 244) does not much bespeak 
our confidence, neither do even the " ut mihi pro certo 
dictum est " of Grim (i. 52), or the " ut pro certo cognitum 
est " of another writer (ii. 259) ; while, on the other hand, 
the account given by Alan, which has been here chiefly 
followed, has even too much of detail. But the most 
remarkable circumstance is the silence of Herbert, who 
was himself with Becket at Sens. He tells us of the 
audience at which the Constitutions were exhibited ; and 
then he states that on the following day many cardinals 
and other politicians of the court remonstrated with the 
Archbishop on the unreasonableness of quarrelling with 
the King while the Church was suffering from a schism ; 
to which censure the biographer replies by a very long 
discourse, which is put into the mouth of his hero (vii. 
182-195); but of the resignation he says nothing what- 
ever. It is hardly worth while to mention small variations 
in the story ; as, that Alan makes the reading of the Con- 
stitutions to have been at a public audience, and the 
resignation in the Pope's chamber, whereas Herbert 
expressly states that the Constitutions were read in the 
chamber ; that Grim represents the whole as having taken 
place at one interview, while Alan makes two ; that, 
according to Alan, the restoration of the see was on the 


-same day with the resignation, whereas Fitzstephen tells 
us that there was an interval of three days ; that Herbert 
speaks of Becket as having himself chosen Pontigny for a 
residence, and as having petitioned to be placed there, 
while Alan represents him as having no choice in the 
matter; and so forth. On the whole, I must think the 
story of the resignation extremely doubtful. Herbert was, 
indeed, as capable of suppressing a fact as others were of 
inventing a falsehood ; but Herbert's narrative has here a 
much greater air of probability than Alan's. "What motive 
could Herbert have had for suppression ? or what likeli- 
hood is there that Alan should have been so very circum- 
stantially informed as to an incident of which Fitzstephen 
and Grim speak so uncertainly ? And if the scene took 
place, as Alan describes it, in the presence of the cardinals, 
many of whom were in Henry's interest, how could there 
have been any mystery or .uncertainty about it? Surely it 
would in such circumstances have very soon become uni- 
versally known. Becket himself, in a letter to Cardinal 
Hyacinth, A.D. 1167, alludes to something which had taken 
place at Sens : "partes vestras diligentius interponatis, ut 
confirrrMtionem primaries nostrce, quam in primo adventu nostro 
Senonis D. Papa nobis concessit, per vos obtineamus" (iii. 
132) : this, however, evidently means, not that the Pope 
restored him to his archbishopric, but that he promised 
him a formal confirmation in certain privileges as attached 
.to it. Fitzstephen mentions that he obtained privileges at 
Sens (i. 244), and from a letter to Cardinal Manfred we 
learn distinctly that the kl primacy " here spoken of means 
.the superiority of Canterbury over York. (iii. 144.) If 
the story of the resignation is untrue, one of Lord Lyttel- 
ton's charges against Becket will fall to the ground, viz., 
that while to the Pope he professed to consider his election 
uncanonical, he yet, in writing to the English bishops, 
maintained its perfect regularity and validity. (Ep. 75 ; 
Lyttelton, ii. 401.) Fuller represents the resignation as 




liaving taken place at Benevento (i. 314), probably through 
a confusion with the history of Archbishop Ealph, who in 
1115 there waited on Paschal II. (W. Malmesb., Gesta 
Pontif. in Patrol, clxxix., 1508.) 


Even popes may be wronged, and it is right to defend 
even Professor Eeuter's hero, Alexander, from the in- 
justice which is done him in this part of the story by Mr. 
Sharon Turner's misapprehension and M. Michelet's mis- 
representation. Mr. Turner says that Becket's " messenger 
was two days at Eome [the Pope being, as we have seen, 
really at Sens] before he obtained an audience, and, though 
received at last with the public gesticulations of sighs, and 
even tears, and congratulations that the Church had such 
a pastor, yet, when his friend mentioned Becket's petition 
to be invited to Eome [i. e., Sens], the immediate answer 
of the Pope was a peremptory refusal." (i. 255.) For 
this a reference is given to "lib. i. ep. 23" the same 
letter which is quoted in the text, p. 150. That letter, 
however, was not written, as Mr. Turner and M. Thierry 
(iii. 138) suppose, after Becket's flight, but a year earlier ; 
and the statement that Alexander " peremptorily refused 
to invite " the Archbishop, is founded on a misconception of 
a passage the true sense of which will appear from Mr. 
Froude's translation (p. 70) : " Lastly, on our requesting 
that His Holiness would send your Lordship a summons to 
appear before him, he answered, with much apparent distress, 
* God forbid ! rather may I end my days than see him leave 
England on such terms, and bereave his Church at such a 
crisis ! ' ' 

M. Michelet may be left to speak for himself that 
Becket wrote from Pontigny, " charging himself with having 
been intruded into his see, and declaring that he resigned 



his dignity ; " that " Alexander refused to see him, and con- 
tented himself with writing to him, that he re-established 
him in his episcopal dignity ' ,Go,' he coldly wrote to the 
exile, * Go, learn in poverty to be the consoler of the 
poor'" (iii. 171). This is really not an unfair specimen 
of the brilliant historian's accuracy, either in his account 
of Becket, or in such other parts of his story as I have been 
able to examine particularly. 


John des Belles-Mains was a native of Canterbury, and 
had been Treasurer of York. He is described by Eobert 
of St. Michel as " vir jocundus et largus et apprime eru- 
ditus " (A. D. 1 162), and by John of Salisbury as " vir singu- 
laris eloquii, et qui omnibus quos videriui trium linguarum 
gratia prsestat " (Polycrat. viii. 7, col. 735 D). He was 
one of Becket's most confidential friends, and Fitzstephen 
says that in the beginning of the troubles he was made 
Bishop of Poitiers, and John of Salisbury was banished, 
with a view of depriving the Archbishop of their counsel 
(215). But this, as Mr. Morris has pointed out (p. 417), 
is incorrect, inasmuch as the Treasurer of York was pro- 
moted to Poitiers before the breach between Becket and 
the King. M. Thierry (iii. 134) quotes a letter of John of 
Salisbury (Ep. 147) as showing that an attempt to poison 
the Bishop was made by the King's party about the time of 
Becket's flight. If such an attempt had been made, we 
should pretty surely have heard more of it ; but, in truth, the 
poisoning is mentioned merely as matter of rumour (Epp. 
146-7), and it would seem that this rumour (in so far as it 
had any foundation at all) arose from the fact of the Bishop's 
having had a severe natural illness. Moreover, the date 
is not, as M. Thierry supposes, 1164, but 1166 after the 
meeting at Chinon, which is mentioned in the text, p. 182. 




From Poitiers John was translated in 1181 to the arch- 
bishopric of Lyons, which he resigned in 1195; and he 
died as a monk at Clairvaux (Patrol, ccix. 873-8). Among 
the letters of Alan of Tewkesbury (11-2, in S. T. C. viii.) 
are two addressed to John when Archbishop of Lyons, by 
which it appears that, to the indignation of the Canterbury 
monks, he then held the living of Eynesford, which had 
been the occasion for one of Becket's quarrels. 

XXIV. V^ZELAY (p. 184). 

I venture to introduce here an extract from a rough 
diary, written in October, 1855 : 

" After climbing a long hill, on the brow of which 
stands a cross, a new prospect opened a wide valley, with 
high hills on the farther side, reminding me of the views 
towards Wales from the country beyond Tenbury ; and in 
advance of the range a steep rock, covered in great part 
with vineyards, and crowned by the town of Yezelay, 
trees rising above the ramparts, and between them the lofty 
apse of the abbey church. To the left, a village with a 
turreted chateau ; in the bottom, the beautiful spire of St. 
Pere, and the Cure, widened in one place by a weir, flow- 
ing through the valley. There was a long descent, and, 
after passing through the dirty village of St. Pere (reserv- 
ing the church for my return), a long ascent to Yezelay. 
The'shape of the little town is something like that of a flat fish 
the abbey holding the place of the head, while the junction 
with the main range of hills is the tail. The road winds 
up a hill opposite the south side of that on which the town is 
built, and passes on (towards Clame'cy, I believe) outside. 
Turning from it on reaching the height, you enter between 
two pillars, and find yourself in the main street. The feet 
at once feel the change from a good macadamised road to a 
stone pavement, which is even worse than that of most old 




French, towns. The street is narrow, the houses are dingy, 
the shops dark and poor. A few drowsy people standing 
at doors gaze at you with an incurious stare. You go on ; 
the street becomes narrower and steeper ; nobody is seen ; 
all seems asleep ; Bayeux, and even Sandwich, are nothing 
in their deadness to Vezelay. Here and there bits of 
carved stone-work appear, built into the walls of houses. 
At length you come out on a little open space, and look on 
the western front of the great church. One tower is gone ; 
the other is Eomanesque below, and Gothic above, but not 
(I think) late Gothic, as the ' Handbook ' says, except in 
quite the highest part. There is a window of five lights, 
with an arch above it. You enter the porch, which has 
three bays, with pointed arches, and an arcade above them. 
This is of the early part of the twelfth century, and already 
existed in Becket's time. A great doorway, and a smaller 
one at each side, Romanesque arches, with much sculpture, 
admit you to the nave, which is very long, and of stem 
early Eomanesque, but surely not (as I remember that 
Froude says) ' anterior to Norrnali,' or as old as the ninth 
century. a There is no triforium, and the roof is of a barrel 
fashion. The whole church is now in process of restora- 
tion. The choir is of the transitional style so common in 
the great churches of these parts, although the specimens 
of it on a large scale are few in England (our own 
cathedral being the chief) ; it, too, was probably already 
built when Becket made this the scene of his excommuni- 
cations. 11 The cure, a polite elderly personage, was in the 
church, and kindly showed me the crypt, with the recess 
in which the relics of St. Mary Magdalene were kept until 
cast out by the Huguenots. During the restoration, service 
is performed in the ancient chapter-house, a low, vaulted 

a I have since found that Mr. 
Fergusson refers it to the eleventh. 
Handbook of Architecture, 655. 

b The former choir had been 

burnt down on the eve of St. Mary 
Magdalene, in 1120. Eob. Antis- 
siod. in Kec. des Hist., xii. 291. 


Romanesque building. The sight of Vezelay was well 
worth the trouble of iny journey by diligence from Auxerre, 
and of my walk from Avallon." 


The day is variously stated. Dr. Giles (I do not know on 
what authority) says that it was Easter- day (Life and Letters, 
i. 332). Herbert (vii. 229) and Gervase (1400), followed by 
Mr. Buss (399), name St. Mary Magdalene's day (July 22), 
when, for the festival of the patroness, " very many nations 
flock from various kingdoms " (Herb.). But it is evident, 
from the correspondence (which is better authority than 
Herbert's narrative, written from memory long after), 
that it was earlier (see iv. 195 ; Joh. Sarisb., ep. 175, fin. 
&c.). Diceto (539) and Wendover (ii. 313) place the ex- 
communication on Ascension-day; Dr. Pauli (as I myself 
formerly did) on the Sunday following (68). But the best 
authority seems to be the circumstantial account given by 
John of Salisbury in a letter to the Bishop of Exeter 
(Ep. 145, col. 137), which is followed in the text. From 
Soissons to Vezelay must have been a journey of more than 
two days, and the Whitsun festival will account better than 
the Ascension for the words " de diversis nationibus," 
which John uses in describing the assembled crowds. Dr. 
Pauli observes that the words of Nicolas of Eouen (Thorn. 
Ep. 347) " Alii quoque conjectant quod in festo S. Mariae 
Magdalense in regis personam sententiam preferetis" 
(taken in conjunction with the discordant statements of 
John of Salisbury and Herbert) " might suggest the suppo- 
sition of two scenes at Vezelay " (69), and Dom Brial (Rec. 
desHist., xvi. 255) infers the same from Gervase of Canter- 
bury's narrative. But this appears to be a mistake, and 
Dr. Pauli does not venture to adopt it. 




11 The length of the vestments," says Professor Stanley 
" confirms the account of his great stature. On the feast of 
' St. Thomas,' till very recently, they were worn for that 
one day by the officiating priest. The tallest priest was 
always selected, and even then it was necessary to pin 
them up " (Hist. Mem. of Canterbury, 181, ed. 3). But, 
although the age of the vestments seems to be undisputed, 
their great length might rather suggest a doubt whether 
they belonged to Becket ; for, while he is said to have been 
" statura procerus " (Fitzst. 185), and Herbert even speaks 
of his " proceritatem egregiam" (vii. 165), there is nothing, 
that I am aware of, in the old writers to suggest the idea 
that his height was so extraordinary as to render these 
articles suitable for him. (The Sens tradition is that he 
was 6 feet 4 inches, French, in height equal to 6 feet 7^ 
inches English.) There is, however, a passage in a letter 
of Peter of La Celle to John of Salisbury, which, if it 
relate to Becket's chasuble, would seem to imply that he 
wore one of disproportionate size " Quasi de magnitu- 
dine cassulce tune archiepiscopi Thomse, nunc pretiosissimi 
martyris, conquerebarp] ubi posset reperiri " (Ep. 124, 
Patrol, ccii.) ; but I do not pretend to understand this, and 
cassula may possibly mean a reliquary or shrine. (See Du- 
cange, s. v.) Mr. Shaw supposes that " the zeal of his 
admirers " may have made a very common mistake as to 
some of these vestments, in attributing them to St. Thomas 
of Canterbury ; but that, "with regard to many of them, 
it is probable that the tradition is correct." (Dresses and 
Decorations of the Middle Ages, vol. i.) As to the history 
of them, M. Chaillou des Barres states that they were dis- 
covered in 1523 in an ancient house in the cathedral 
cloister. (L'Abbaye de Pontigny, 63.) But how were 
they known to have belonged to Becket ? 



The contemporary documents give no hint that Becket 
proceeded beyond Southwark after being charged to return 
to Canterbury ; and we are left to judge whether Matthew 
Paris has here presented us with an authentic tradition 
preserved in the monastery of St. Alban's, or with a fiction 
invented for the glory of that house. The less favourable 
supposition seems to be the more likely ; for not only is 
the silence of Becket's contemporaries a ground of pre- 
sumption against the story, but it does not appear in the 
older chronicles of St. Alban's itself being one of the 
passages interpolated into the text of Eoger Wendover by 
Matthew Paris, whose unscrupulousness in such matters is 
notorious. (See Pauli, 882.) The variations between 
Matthew's two narratives are not in favour of his general 
truth ; and the manner in which, in one of them, he mixes 
up the Abbot's alleged expedition to Woodstock with that 
of Eichard of St. Martin's, brings him into something like 
a direct contradiction of the earlier writers. 


" An accursed man, Hugh of Horsea, known by the 
appellation of the III Clerk," says Southey (Book of the 
Church, ed. 4, p. 143), apparently following Fuller, who 
speaks of him as "an officer of the church, called Hugh, 
the 111 Clerk " (i. 316, ed. Nichols). But Malus Clericus 
was evidently a surname Malclerc (Gamier, 151) or 
Mauclerc (ib. 146) ; " Hugo, re et nomine Mains Clericus 
appellatus," Gervas. 1416 ; " Malus Clericus, Gallice Mau- 
clcrc" Ducange, s. v.). Walter Maudero was a judge, and 
Bishop of Carlisle, in the reign of John (Godwin de 
Prsesul. 763 ; Foss, ii. 404) ; and it is probably the same 


name which has in later times taken the form of Mockkr 
perhaps, too, that of Mandarke. 

Benedict of Peterborough (S. T. C. ii. 66 ; VitaHenr. II. 
12) ascribes the scattering of the Archbishop's brains to 
the fourth knight (De Morville), whom he also describes 
as the one whose sword was broken, and as having been 
instigated by the reproach of one of his companions on 
account of his backwardness to strike ; and this statement is 
copied by Hoveden (298-9) and by the author of a " Pas- 
sion " (in S. T. C. ii. 145). Herbert says that, " ut diceba- 
tur," it was Eobert de Broc (vii. 345). M. Thierry quotes 
(iii. 1 90) from some Latin verses in Hearne's appendix to 
William of Newburgh (p. 723, Oxon. 1719) : 

" Willelmus Maltret percussit cum pede sanctum 
Defunctum, dicens, Pereat nunc proditor ille, 
Qui regem regnumque suum turbavit, et omnes 
Angligenas adversus eum consurgere fecit." 

The historian, however, appears to overrate the value of 
this as a confirmation of his Saxon theory : for (1) the 
incident most likely never occurred in the manner de- 
scribed. The most authentic writers do not mention any 
other insult to the lifeless body than that which is related 
in the text ; and this was probably the foundation of the 
verses, in which the name of the actor, his act, and his 
words, are all altered. (2.) There was no insurrection, 
Saxon or other, which could have given occasion for such 
a speech. (3.) Even if the versifier's story were true, 
it would be absurd to lay any especial stress on the sense 
of the word Angligenas brought in, as it evidently is, for 
the sake of the metre. And (4.) the verses are altogether of 
such a character that it is absurd to treat them as any 



The popular story (which has, I believe, been universally 
followed by painters who have treated the subject) repre- 
sents Becket as having been murdered at the altar. Some 
say the high altar ; others, with a greater appearance of 
precision, the altar of St. Benedict; Trivet (p. 67) that of 
St. Denys. That the fact was otherwise need not be 
argued, after what has been said by Professors Willis (pp. 
41, 140) and Stanley. But it may be worth while to point 
out how early this feature was introduced into the story. 
John of Salisbury, who, although he had not the courage 
to stand by his master, was probably in some part of the 
cathedral while the murder took place, in writing, only a 
few days after the event, says that the martyr suffered 
" before Christ's altar" (Ep. 304). About the same time 
an anonymous writer tells the Pope that the murderers 
set on him "ante altare" (S. T. C., vi. 304); and Theo- 
bald, Count of Blois " Effusus est sanguis Justus ubi 
nostree viaticum salutis solebat immolari " (S. T. C., iv. 212). 
William of Newburgh " Sacerdotum magnum, stantem ad 
orationem ante venerandum altare, peremerunt " (ii. 25, 
p. 156). The Lambeth biographer" Ante altare " (123). 
Fitzstephen, however, has " secus aram" (i. 303), which is 
not quite fairly rendered in Mr. Froude's volume, " before 
the altar " (p. 557) ; and in some of the old writers, while 
there are general expressions which seem to countenance 
the common story, these are corrected by more particular 
statements ; thus, Diceto has " coram altari," and after- 
wards "a dextris altaris S. Benedicti" (555-6). An altar 
was afterwards erected in honour of " St. Thomas," imme- 
diately behind the spot on which the "martyrdom " took 
place (see Erasmus, ed. Nichols, 113, and Stanley on "the 
Shrine of Becket ") ; but at the time of the murder, the 
altar of St. Benedict stood, not on the site of that later 
erection, but in a small chapel to the north of it. 


A flagstone of peculiar appearance is usually shown as 
that on which the Archbishop died ; and " that the spot so 
marked is precisely the place where Becket fell, is proved 
by its exact accordance with the localities so minutely 
described in the several narratives" (Stanley, 78). But 
the identity of the stone itself is questionable, inasmuch as 
the Peterborough Chronicle states that Benedict, on being 
promoted from the priory of Christchurch, Canterbury, to 
the abbacy of Peterborough, carried off with him the stones 
on which the martyr's blood had been shed, and made them 
into two altars for his new church (Chron. Petrib. ap. 
Sparke). And the story now commonly told that, where a 
small square piece is inserted, the original stone was cut out 
and sent to Eome as a relic is much more than question- 
able. As a tradition, it appears to have originated within 
the present century, inasmuch as it is not mentioned by 
Hasted (A.D. 1799), nor by any of the earlier topographers, 
some of whom (as Somner, Battely, and Grostling) were 
specially connected with the cathedral, and, therefore, 
could hardly have failed to know the story, if it had been 
current in their days, or to record it, if it had been known 
to them. No such relic as that in question has ever been 
discovered at Eome, although diligent inquiry has been 
made (Stanley, 78), and although at Sta. Maria Maggiore 
and elsewhere relics of St. Thomas are exhibited. And 
the passage of Baronius, which has been referred to by 
Mr. Morris (390) and others as evidence that " the cardinal 
legates, Albert and Theodwin, brought back with them [to 
Eome] a portion of the pavement," in reality gives no 
countenance to the statement; for the historian's words 
are-^-" Intulerunt in urbem sacra pignora novi Martyris, 
nempe quod super ecdesice pavimentum respersum fuerat ejus 
capitis cerebrum, necnon ejus tunicam" &c., 1172, 12. 



I am not aware that any brother of the Archbishop is 
mentioned in authentic documents ; but there are notices 
of three sisters : 

(1.) Mary, already celebrated for her hospitality to 
Gamier of Pont St. Maxence (p. 7). She was appointed 
Abbess of Barking in 1173, at the suggestion of Odo, prior 
of Christchurch, Canterbury, " mandate regis patris, et 
contemplatione fratris." See Diceto, 570 ; Gervas. 1424 ; 
Flor. Vigorn. Contin., ii. 153 ; Monast. Angl., i. 437. 

(2.) Kohesia or Roheise, whose name is doubtless the 
same with that of Roesa, which the Lambeth biographer 
gives to the Archbishop's mother (see pp. 14-5). Gamier 
tells us that Henry II., on the occasion of his penance at 

" La surur saint Thomas merci quist e cria, 
E en adrescement un molin li dona, 
Bien ualt dis mars par an la rente qu'ele en a." P. 162. 

My friend the Rev. L. B. Larking has published, in 
' Notes and Queries ' (2nd Series, No. 46), from documents 
in the Eecord Office, some notices of payments to Roheise 
from the mill in question (Eastbridge or King's Mill, 
Canterbury, for which see Somner, ed. Battely, Append. 5 ; 
Hasted, iv. 438). The first entry is in 21 Hen. II. (A.D. 
1175). In 31 Hen. II. her son John is admitted to a share 
in the pension ; and three years later he appears alone 
from which it would seem that Roheise was then dead. 
Dr. Lappenberg had before pointed out (n. in Pauli, 103) 
that there is an entry in the Pipe Roll of 1 Rich. I. (edited 
by Mr. Hunter for the Record Commission) " Johanni, 
filio Rohesie sororis sancti Thomse, xi. li. de eleemosyna 
Regis in molendino Cantuar." (p. 231). 

(3.) Agnes, who married Thomas, son of Theobald of 

2 A 


Helles, or Heilli, and, in conjunction with him, founded 
and endowed an hospital for the brotherhood of St. Thomas 
of Acre, on the site where Gilbert Becket's house had 
stood, and which is now occupied by the Mercers' Chapel 
(Monast. Angl., vi. 645-7 ; Maitland's London, 886-7). 
She is also said to have given, after her husband's death, a 
rent often shillings to St. Saviour's Hospital, Bermondsey ; 
and the deed of gift is witnessed by " Theobaldo milite, 
nepote Beati Thomas Martyris," who may probably have 
been her son. (Carte's Life of the D. of Ormonde, i. 
Introd. xiv. ed. 1736.) Through this channel it is sup- 
posed that the Butlers of Ormonde were connected with 
Becket, according to an old family tradition, which was set 
forth in a petition to the King and Parliament in 32 
Henry VI., and received a kind of Parliamentary sanction 
from the granting of the petition. (Ib. viii.-ix.) But the 
manner of this connexion is very obscure, and it seems 
likely that the Butlers may not have been descended from 
Thomas and Agnes, but from another son of Theobald, so 
as in reality to have no blood-relationship to the family of 
Becket. (Ib. v. sqq.) Helles is, according to Carte, a 
barony in Tipperary. (Ib. xii.) 

In the letters written during the exile there are occa- 
sional notices of some of Becket's relations who had been 
involved in the general sentence of banishment for his 
sake. Thus, in Ep. 103, he recommends a sister's son 
(possibly John, the son of Eoheise) to the Dean and Chapter 
of Rheims, with a request that the boy may be maintained 
in their house, and compelled to apply to grammatical 
studies; and, in Ep. 151, he bespeaks the assistance of the 
Archbishop- elect of Syracuse for " our sister's son G . . ." 

According to Mr. Morris, whose " account is entirely 
taken from the documents presented to the S. Congregation 
of Rites in 1835" (pp. 386-7, 442), some members of the 
Archbishop's family remained in Italy, and from these were 
descended " Blessed John and Peter Becket, of the Augus- 
tinian Eremitical Order at Fabriano," who nourished about 

Arp. XXX. 



the year 1400. In the church of San Tomaso Cantuariense, 
at Verona, " is the tomb of Giovan' Battista Beket, who 
claims to be of the family of the Archbishop perhaps a 
descendant of some of those who followed him into exile." 
(Handb. for North Italy, 257, ed. 1854.) 

It may be well to note here, that Keander (vii. 234, ed. 
Bohn) has done Becket an injustice by supposing him to 
be the Archbishop whom Peter of Blois defends (not 
altogether effectually) against charges of avarice and 
nepotism. The letter (Pet. Bles., Ep. 38) evidently relates 
to the next archbishop, Eichard. 

2 A2 

( 356 ) 




ACRE, connexion of Becket's name with, 

Alan of Tewkesbury, collects Becket's 
correspondence, 6, 169 ; his Life of 
Becket, 8. 

Alban's, St., Abbot of, 261, 349. 

Albert, Cardinal, 302. 

Alexander III., Pope, 63 ; character of, 
146 ; grants the pall to Becket, 47-8 ; 
holds a council at Tours, 68-70 ; refuses 
to confirm the Constitutions of Claren- 
don, 105 ; his reception of envoys from 
Becket and Henry II., 143 ; of Becket, 
150, 343 ; returns to' Italy, 177 ; 
grants Becket legatine power, 181 ; 
suspends his power of censures, 211 ; 
sends commissions to attempt his re- 
conciliation with the king. 202, 211, 
222, 231 ; his letters as to the coro- 
nation of Henry's son, 238-240 ; his 
conduct on hearing of Becket's murder, 

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 138, 
244, 319 ; his canonization, 69. 

Appeals to Rome, 98-9. 

Archdeacons, misconduct of, 89. 

Arnold, Archbishop of Mentz, 288. 

Arnulf, Bishop of Lisieux, 26, 70, 92, 
105, 183, 222, 331. 

Arundel, Earl of, 139, 143-4. 

Augustine's, St., Monastery of, 332. 

Avranches, reconciliation of Henry II. 
with the Church at, 302. 


Baillehache, 20. 

Bailleul, Joscelin de, 97. 

Battle Abbey, 61, 326. 

Becket, derivation of the name, 13, 14. 

Becket, Gilbert, 10-19 ; his children, 

, Mary, Abbess of Barking, 7, 353. 

, Thomas, descent and birth of, 10- 

15; his boyhood, 16-17; youth, 19; 
introduced to Archbishop Theobald, 20 ; 
obtains church-preferment, 21 ; studies 
law at Bologna and Auxerre, 22 ; se- 
cures the crown for Henry II., 23 ; 
further preferments, ib. ; is appointed 
chancellor, 25-26 ; his favour with the 
king, 28-30 ; his splendour, 31 ; em- 
bassy to France, 32 ; takes part in the 
war of Toulouse, 34-36 ; promoted to 
the see of Canterbury, 37-44 ; his re- 
lease from secular obligations, 45, 116, 
337 ; his change of life, 49 ; habits as 
archbishop, 52-59 ; resigns the chan- 
cellorship, 62 ; and the archdeaconry 
of Canterbury, 64 ; resumes lands be- 
longing to his see, 65 ; meets Henry at 
Southampton, 67 ; attends the council 
of Tours, 68 ; sets up various claims, 
71-73 ; asserts the immunity of the 
clergy from secular courts, 75 ; attends 
the council of Westminster, 90 ; has an 
interview with the king at Northampton, 
91 ; agrees to accept the " customs," 
95 ; his behaviour at the council of 
Clarendon, 97-102 ; attempts to escape 
into France, 106; has an interview 
with Henry, 107 ; attends the council 
of Northampton, 109 ; his flight from 
Northampton, 132-8 ; received at St. 
Bertin's, 138 ; has interviews with 
king Louis and the Pope, 146, 150; 
his alleged resignation and reappoint- 
ment, 153, 341 ; the king's measures 
against him, 156 ; his life at Pontigny, 
163-7; his correspondence, 168 ; nego- 
tiations with the king, 174 ; appoint- 
ment as legate, 182; pronounces ex- 





communications at Vdzelay, 183-7 ; 
is dislodged from Pontigny, and settles 
at Sens, 190-8 ; his visions, 197 ; 
dealings with Cardinals William and 
Otho, 203-5 ; excommunicates the 
Bishop of London and his own arch- 
deacon, 209; his power of censures 
suspended, 211 ; refuses to be translated, 
204, 213 ; attends conference at Mont- 
mirail, 213-16 ; pronounces fresh ex- 
communications, 222; attends confer- 
ence at Montmartre, 226 ; writes 
violently against Henry, 232 ; and 
against the Eoman Court, 236 ; is re- 
conciled with Henry, 243; hut finds 
fresh difficulties, 245 ; returns to 
England, 249-53; refuses to absolve 
bishops, 257 ; proceeds to London, but 
is forbidden to visit the king's son, 
260-1 ; has an interview with the 
Abbot of St. Alban's, 261, 349 ; his 
proceedings on Christmas-day, 263 ; his 
murder, 268-80 ; horror excited by it, 
288, seqq. ; miracles and visions, 290- 
293,304; canonization, 305 ; estimate 
of his character, 311-20 ; whiteness of 
his hands, 340 ; his relics at Sens, 348 ; 
place of his death, 351 ; his relations, 

Benedict of Canterbury, 7, 9. 

Berengar, 219. 

Berkhampstead, see Eye. 

Bernard, Monk of Grammont, 211-12, 

Bidding of prayer, 43. 

Bishoprics, appointment to, 39 ; Henry's 
continued influence in it, 307. 

Boulogne, Count of, 135. 

Boxley, Abbot of, 286. 

Brito, or Le Breton, Richard, 266-80. 

Broc, Ranulf de, 127, 157, 186, 246, 
, Robert de, 275, 284-5. 


Canonization, 293. 

Canterbury, archdeaconry of, 23 ; manner 

of appointment to the archbishopric of, 

Chancellor, duties of, 27, 321 ; sale of 

the chancellorship, 28, 322. 

j Charlemagne as to trial of clergy, 84. 
| Chichester, Hilary Bishop of, 61, 90-2, 

116, 125, 142-3, 326. 
j Chinon, conference at, 182. 
| Cistercians, 42, 161, 190. 
I Clarembald, abbot-elect of St. Augustine's, 

94, 210, 332. 

Clarendon, council of, 96-100. 
Clergy, immunities of, 76, 310, 329. 
Cornhill, Gervase de, 253. 
Coronation, right of performing, 238, 

Cornwall, Earl of, 100, 116-23. 


Danegeld, 73, 329. 

Diceto, R. de, chronicler, 8, 337. 

"Dignities," 224. 

Durham, Geoffrey, bishop of, 322. 


Eleanor, queen, 25, 147 ; claim of, to 

Toulouse, 34-5. 
Eleemosyna, abbey of, 335. 
Engelbert, abbot, 211. 
Eugenius III., pope, 83. 
Eustace, son of king Stephen, 25-6, 238. 
Excommunication of the king's tenants in 

chief, 73. 
Exeter, Bartholomew, bishop of, 61, 116, 

142-4, &c. 
Eye and Berkhampstead, castles of, 30, 

91, 338. 
Eynesford, 72, 345. 


" Filius Excussorum," 336. 

Fitznigel, William, 269, 274. 

Fitzstephen, William, biographer, 8 ; 1m 
connexion with Becket, ib., 321 ; at- 
tends him at Northampton, 122 ; re- 
mains in England, 158 ; is present at 
the murder, 281. 

Fitzurse, Reginald, 266-80. 

Foliot, Gilbert, 61, 98, &c. ; account of, 
41-3 ; opposes Becket's election, 45 ; 
is made Bishop of London, 41 , 324 ; op- 
poses Becket, 93 ; claims independence 
for his see, 94, 221 ; his letters, 42, 
101, 189, 325 ; his conduct at North- 






ampton, 115-31 ; goes on an embassy 
to the French king and the Pope, 135- 
143 ; has custody of benefices belonging 
to the exiles, 156, 160 ; has a meeting 
with cardinals William and Otho, 207 ; 
is excommunicated, 209 ; a second 
time, 219 ; the sentence announced to 
him, 219-22; is absolved, 235; joins 
in crowning the king's son, 241 ; again 
excommunicated, 250 ; goes to the 
king, 265 ; is absolved, 301 ; anecdote 
of him, 324 ; his influence with Henry, 

Foliot, Robert, Bishop of Hereford, 308. 

Frederick I., emperor, (Barbarossa), 68, 
147-8, 181 ; sends an embassy to 
Henry, 175-6 ; holds a diet at Wiirz- 
burg, 176 ; his reverses in Italy, 205. 

French language, 19. 

Froude, Rev. R. H., 3. 


Gamier, biographer, 6, 35. 
Geoffrey of Anjou, 25. 

of Monmouth, 47, 208. 

, provost of Beverley, 322. 

Gerard the shoeless, 180. 
Gilbert of Sempringham, 339. 
Giles, Rev. Dr., 4-5, 169. 
Grammont, order of, 212, 293. 
Gratian, author of the ' Decretum,' 22, 

, papal commissioner, 222-5, 228. 

Gregory VII., 127, 318. 

Grim, Edward, 5, 276, 281, 336. 

Guichard, abbot of Pontigny, 162, 185. 


Hamelin, Earl, 128. 

Hastings, deanery of, 30. 

Henry II., accession of, 23-5 ; makes 
Becket his Chancellor, 26 ; intimacy 
with him, 29 ; claims Toulouse, 34 ; 
nominates Becket as Archbishop, 37 ; 
is displeased with him, 62-4 ; met by 
him at Southampton, 67; is opposed 
by him as to a tax, 73 ; insists that 
clergymen shall be tried by secular 
courts, 76 ; holds a council at West- 

minster, 89 ; interview with Becket at 
Northampton, 91 ; forms a party among 
the Bishops, 92 ; holds a council at 
Clarendon, 96-103 ; refuses a legatine 
commission, 105 ; interview with 
Becket, 107 ; holds a council at North- 
ampton, 109-131 ; sends an embassy 
to the French king and the Pope, 139 ; 
fear and dislike of him abroad, 142, 
289 ; his measures against Becket's 
partisans, 156 ; negotiations with the 
Emperor, 175-6 ; his interview with 
some of Becket's clerks, 177 ; negotia- 
tions with the Archbishop, 179 ; holds 
a meeting at Chinon, 182 ; dislodges 
Becket from Pontigny, 190 ; interview 
with Cardinals William and Otho, 207 ; 
interview with Louis and Becket at 
Montmirail, 213-6; with Gratian and 
Vivian, 224 ; meeting at Montmartre, 
226-7 ; fresh orders against Becket, 229 ; 
gets his son crowned, 238-41 ; is recon- 
ciled with Becket, 242 ; further meet- 
ings, 247-9 ; interview with the censured 
bishops, 265 ; hears of Becket's murder, 
296 ; sends an embassy to the Pope, 
297; is reconciled with the Pope at 
Avranches, 302 ; does penance at 
Becket's shrine, 306 ; retains influence 
in ecclesiastical affairs, 307 ; Dean 
Milman's character of him, 314. 

Henry, son of Henry II., is placed under 
Becket's care, 31 ; embassy to seek a 
wife for him, 32 ; grants Becket a re- 
lease from secular obligations, 43-5 ; 
Becket resigns the charge of him, 67-8 ; 
is crowned, 237-41 ; refuses to see 
Becket, 259 ; makes engagements at 
Avranches, 303 ; rebels against his 
father, 305-8. 

, Archbishop of York, 23. 

Herbert of Bosham, biographer, 5-7, 46, 
55, 80, 103, 120-2-7-9, 142-3, 166, 
178, 195, 264, 292, &c. 

Hugh of Nunant, bishop of Lichfield, 121, 

Huit-deniers, Osbern, 19. 

Idonea, 251. 
Interdict, 242. 






John of Oxford, 105 ; presides at the 
council of Clarendon, 96 ; has an inter- 
view with Henry's mother, 159 
attends the diet of Wiirzburg, 175-6 ; 
gets the deanery of Salisbury, and is 
excommunicated by Becket, 186 ; but 
absolved, and confirmed in the deanery 
by the Pope, 200-2 ; escorts Becket on 
his return, 250, 254; is made bishop 
of Norwich, 3Q7^-~-_- 

of Salisbury, 2, 4, 89, 93, 275, 281, 

&c. ; his Life of Becket, 7 ; Life of 
Anselm, 69; account of him, 173; 
remonstrates as 'to~Becket's studies, 167 ; 
other remonstrances, 194, 203, 219 ; 
has interviews with Henry II., 177, 
247 ; his verses on Becket and Theobald, 

Justinian, 330. 


L'Aigle, Richer de, 18. 

" Lambethiensis, Anonymus," 5, 8, 15. 

La Pucelle, Gerard, 308. 

Leicester, Earl of, 100, 116-7, 123, 126, 

Lincoln, Robert, Bishop of, 115. 

Llewellyn, Alexander, 120, 264, 294, 299. 

Lombard, canonist, 67. 

Louis VII. of France, 211-2, &c. ; his 
character, 140 ; receives Becket as 
ambassador, 33 ; takes part in the war 
of Toulouse, 34-5; gives audience to 
envoys from Becket and the King, 
141-2; establishes the exiles at Sens, 
195 ; meetings with Henry and Becket 
at Montmirail, 213, and Montmartre, 
226 ; writes to the Pope against Henry, 

Luci, Richard de, Chief Justiciary, 38-9, 

: 61, 97, 139, 186, &c. 

Lucius II., Pope, 268, 287. 


Marshal, John, 108, 110-1, 113. 

Mary, St., Littory, 21. 

Matilda, mother of Henry II., 19, 25, 153. 

, mother of Becket, 10-16, 17. 

Mauclerc, Hugh, 282, 349. 

Mercers' chapel, London, 10, 354. 
Merton priory, 17. 
Montmartre, meeting at, 227. 
Montmirail, meeting at, 213-6. 
Morville, Hugh de, 266-80. 


Nevers, Bishop of, 231. 
Nicolas of Mont St. Jacques, 154. 
Northampton, meeting at, 109, sqq. 
Norwich, Bishop of, 100, 112, 208. 


Octonummi, 19. 

Osbert, Archdeacon of York, 75. 

Otho, Cardinal, 202-8. 


Paschal, Antipope, 147, 176. 
Peter of Blois, 241. 

ofLaCeUe, 175. 

of Pavia, 225. 

Peterpence, 145, 181. 
Philip, Abbot of 1' Aum&ne, 95, 334. 
Pontigny, 153, 162-3, 196. 
Poitiers, John, Bishop of, 163, 166, 196, 
314, &c. 


" Quadrilogus," 4. 


Reginald, Archbishop of Cologne, 175, 205. 

, Archdeacon of Salisbury, afterwards 

Bishop of Bath and Wells, and Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, 210, 308. 

Richard, Prior of St. Martin's, Dover, and 
afterwards Archbishop, 73, 82, 259, 
309, 355. 

of Ilchester, Archdeacon of Poitiers, 

105, 139, 175 ; becomes Bishop of 
Winchester, 307. 

Ridel, Geoffrey, Archdeacon of Canterbury, 
65, 105, 209, 222, 228-9 ; is made 
Bishop of Ely, 301 ; his family, 327. 

Robert of Melun, Bishop of Hereford, 93, 
95, 131, 287. 

of Merton, 165,285. 

Rochester, bishopric of, 21 ; castle, 71, 





Roesa or Roheisia, 14-5, 353. 

Roger of Pont 1'Eveque, 105, 121 ; shows 
enmity to Becket, 20 ; becomes Arch- 
deacon of Canterbury, 21 ; and Arch- 
bishop of York, 23 ; claims the right 
of consecrating Becket, 46 ; sets up 
pretensions against Canterbury, 92-4 ; 
his behaviour at Northampton, 121-5 ; 
on a mission to the French King and 
the Pope, 142-4 ; crowns Henry's son, 
238-41 ; is suspended, and complains to 
the King, 250, 258, 265 ; purges him- 
self of a share in Becket's death, 301 ; 
his behaviour at a council, 258 ; said to 
have bought the Chancellorship for his 
nephew, 322. 

of Pontigny, 5, 8. 

Rotrou de Beaumont, Bishop of Evreux, 
and afterwards Archbishop of Rouen, 
107, 176, 183, 225-6, 228, 249, 250 ; 
alienated by Becket's assumption, 194, 
225 ; employed as a commissioner, 231. 


Sackville, Nigel de, 229, 248, 264. 
Salisbury, Joscelin, Bishop of, 100-1, 119, 

186, 219, 241, 250, 301. 
Scutage, 34. 

Seez, Bishop of, 183, 226, 241. 
Sempringham, order of, 338. 
Sens, description of, 198 ; relics of Becket 

at, 348. 
, William, Archbishop of, 198, 216, 

229, 231 ; writes to the Pope against 

Henry, 236, 294 ; interdicts the King's 

dominions, 301. 
Sicily, 159. 

Simon of Mont-Dieu, 211. 
Stephen, King, 23-4, 73, 323. 


Theobald, Count of Blois, 295. 

, Archbishop of Canterbury, 14, 20, 

22, 37, 46, 60, 73, 75, 139, 238, 323. 
Theotwin, Cardinal, 302. 
Thierry's theory as to Becket, 2, 12, 13, 

52-3, 67, 93, 327, 350, &c. 
Toulouse, war of, 33-6, 60. 

Tours, council of, 68-71. 
Tropary, 111. 

Tracy, 'William de, 266-280. 
Tuesdays, remarkable, 339. 
Tunbridge castle, 71. 


Urban, Cistercian Abbot, 179. 


Ve'zelay, 184-6 ; description of, 347 ; 

date of Becket's excommunications 

there, 347. 

Victor IV., Antipope, 68. 
Villeins, ordination of, 99. 
Vivian, Archdeacon of Orvieto, 222-8. 


Walcher, Bishop of Durham, 287. 

Waldric, Bishop of Laon, 287. 

Walter, Archdeacon of Canterbury, and 

afterwards Bishop of Rochester, 21, 112, 

117, 241, 259. 
Warrenne, Reginald de, 253. 
Westminster, council of, 89. 
William the Conqueror, separation of 

spiritual and secular courts by, 84, 


of Canterbury, biographer, 8. 

of Eynesford, 72-3, 114. 

of Newbury, 8. 

of Pavia, Cardinal, 151, 202-8, 250. 

of Salisbury, 158. 

, St., of York, 75. 

Winchester, Henry, Bishop of, 62, 121, 

208, &c. ; his power under Stephen, 

22-4 ; claims release for Becket, 45 ; 

consecrates him, 46-7 ; advises him at 

Northampton, 115-6 ; assists him with 

money, 159 ; on his deathbed is 

visited by Henry II., 302. 
Wolf, editor of the Life and Letters, 4, 6. 
Worcester, Roger, Bishop of, 202, 240, 

297, 300. 


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